October 23, 2022: Today, Limmud FSU mounted its first conference of Jewish learning for Jews with roots in the former Soviet Union who now live in the Boston area. The conference, that was held at the Hillel house at Boston University, attracted some 150 of the Jews from the countries of the FSU who today live in the Boston area.
The conference offered more than 20 sessions on topics that ranged from a discussion of what might happen after Israel’s forthcoming elections, the war in Ukraine and its impact on the forthcoming US mid-term elections, the activities of the Jewish federations of North America in lobbying on behalf of refugees from Ukraine, the digital iron curtain, alongside discussions of spiritual belief, learning about exotic fruits, a master class in painting, superpowers in nature, and a performance by Russian-Israeli singer, Vladi Blayberg.
Elana Broitman, a senior vice president of public affairs at the Jewish Federations of North America: ““We have to focus on the most impactful priorities. What we’re lobbying for are three things: overall Ukraine aid, refugee resettlement in the US, and extension of the Lautenberg Amendment, which provides for a particular program for religious minorities.”
A separate program was provided for children, in two age groups, preschoolers and those of primary school age, with drama workshops, Jewish art workshops, a cooking workshop, as well as a puppet show.
“We are very happy to open our first-ever Limmud FSU conference in Boston,” said Limmud FSU’s founder, Chaim Chesler. “We’ve been wanting to do this for five years, and now we’re finally fulfilling our dream.” Last month Limmud FSU held its first conference in the Azerbaijan capital, Baku. “For a long time we have been anxious to expand beyond New York and the West Coast,” said Limmud FSU co-founder Sandy Cahn, “and equally we hope to be able to expand next year to other new locations in the US. The interest and appetite for our programming is clear.”
Limmud FSU was founded in 2006, and is led by its Chair, Matthew Bronfman, and President, Aaron G. Frenkel. Since then, some 80 events have been mounted by 14 volunteer teams, and Limmud FSU events and have reached out over these years to some 80,000 Jews across the globe. Among Limmud FSU Boston’s key supporters are the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeIsrael, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP), Wilf Family Foundations and others.
In the best tradition of Limmud, the event was made possible by its team of local leaders and volunteers, led by Limmud FSU Executive Director, Natasha Chechik, Director of Operations Gabi Farberov and US project manager, Noam Shumakh-Khaimov.