Vitebsk, Belarus, Sept. 11 - Over 600 young Jews, mostly professionals 20-40 years old, will come together tomorrow through Sept. 14 in Vitebsk for Limmud FSU, a festival of Jewish learning. There are currently about 70,000 Jews living in Belarus.
Limmud FSU Belarus will take place in the hometown of renowned artist Marc Chagall, at the Vitebsk National Museum of Fine Arts. Limmud FSU Belarus features a packed program of lectures, workshops, round-table discussions, music and a wide range of cultural events, including the opening of an exhibition by artist Alexander Okun. Among the main speakers will be Israeli Ambassador to Belarus Yosef Shagal, Chairman of Belarusian Jewish Organizations and Communities Boris Gersten, renowned Russian Jewish theater director Mark Rozovsky, Director of the Marc Chagall Museum Ludmila Hmelnitskaya, Israeli comedian Ilya Akselrod, Russian poet Igor Irtenyev, and many others. The opening and closing events will take place in the Vitebsk National Theater.
Surrounding the conference will be two special events as part of a full Limmud FSU Festival. A Sept. 11 tour in Luzhky will explore the hometown of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who founded modern Hebrew. The tour will be guided by Ben-Yehuda’s great-grandson, the leading Israeli TV anchor Gil Hovav. A special memorial plaque at the site of Ben-Yehuda’s childhood home will be unveiled as well.
Additionally, a memorial and special photo exhibition honoring the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will be held Sept. 15 in the National History Museum of Belarus, in the capital city of Minsk, from where Sharon’s parents immigrated to the Jewish State. The memorial for Israel’s eleventh prime minister will be held in collaboration with the Government of Belarus, Embassy of Israel, and the local Jewish community, with the participation of Sharon's son Gilad, and close aide Israel Maimon, who served as his Cabinet Secretary. Marit Danon, the head secretary in Prime Minister’s Sharon’s office, is curating the Sharon photo exhibition, which will include photos from the Israel Defense Forces, the Israeli government archives and his personal collections. A press conference and meeting with local officials with will also be held.
About Limmud FSU:
Limmud FSU is a nonprofit founded eight years ago by Chaim Chesler, former treasurer of the Jewish Agency, and Sandra Cahn, philanthropist from New York, to serve young Russian-speaking Jews around the world. The organization operates in seven countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, USA, Canada and Israel. Some 250,000 participants have taken part in its conferences, projects and festivals. Key partners include the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Claims Conference, JDC, philanthropist Matthew Bronfman, Aaron Frankel, Diane Wohl, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, Jewish National Fund (KKL), the Jewish Agency and others. For additional information on the organization: www.limmudfsu.org.