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More than 700 Russian-speaking Israelis and public figures gathered at Limmud FSU Israel in Ashdod

The international educational organization, Limmud FSU celebrated its bat-mitzvah – 12 years of educational activities in Israel with a three-day festival in Ashdod. The pluralistic conference, run entirely by volunteers, attracted more than 700 young Russian-speaking Israelis.

The festival encompassed more than 150 lectures, workshops, round-table discussions, master classes, and artistic performances given by 100 presenters, on a wide range of subjects of Jewish interest.

EAJC General Director, Dr. Haim Ben Yaakov, together with prof. Dina Porat, a chief historian of Yad Vashem; Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, the former Deputy-President of the Supreme Court; Ambassador Efraim Halevi; and Ambassador Uri Palti, participated in the round-table discussion about the rise of antisemitism and the far right, presented by Dr. Yoel Rappel.

Dr. Haim Ben Yaakov emphasized: “In the new law on the national state, the State of Israel for the first time declared its commitment to the common fate of the Jewish people, the principle of unity of the Jewish people, and the value of the relationship between Jews wherever they live. It is this aspect of the law that is vital and worthy of support. Israel must take a greater spiritual and political responsibility for the Jewish communities of the world.”

Among the festival’s highlights was the inauguration of an exhibition in honor of Justice Rubinstein, curated by Prof. Aviad HaCohen, Dean of the Sha’arei Hamishpat College of Law. The festival also featured a memorial to the late Russian cosmonaut, Alexei Leonov, the first man to walk in space who passed away in October. The event featured a message from the American astronaut Garrett Reisman, who was a guest of honor together with Leonov at Limmud FSU 2011 in Beersheba.

“Unity is a much needed today more than ever, and Limmud FSU has been uniting people for many many years now. The Diaspora cries out for Limmud, and unfortunately, we are currently losing parts of our human reserve and support of the Jews worldwide. Therefore, it is crucial that each and every one of us do his and her best to be together, to volunteer, to deepen and strengthen Jewish identity, and to be involved in the life of the Jewish people,” said Limmud FSU President and EAJC Chairman of the Board, Aaron G. Frenkel.

“By consistently supporting the Limmud FSU conference, we at the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress are convinced of the need to further develop this important project, based on a fresh, modern approach to traditional Jewish values,” said EAJC President Dr. Mikhail Mirilashvili.

Photos courtesy of Alex Khanin and Limmud FSU.