A sold-out four-day conference of Limmud FSU Ukraine opened last weekend in the city of Lviv (historically known as Lvov or Lemburg), the cultural capital of Ukraine, with a moment of silence for Ukrainians who have fallen in the country’s ongoing civil conflict.
The highly popular global educational and cultural conference for Russian-speaking Jews, was held at the Hotel Dnister in the city center.
The historic city’s mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, a rising political figure widely seen as a contender for the Ukraine presidency, attended the opening ceremony in the city’s Center for Science and Technology.
Sadovyi said he hoped Limmud FSU Ukraine would become an annual local tradition, to help recognize the historical significance of the city’s Jewish community.
Other distinguished guests included Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine Eliav Belotserkovsky and local Jewish communal leaders.
The Israeli envoy, noting an exhibition about Ukrainian Jewish history on display during the conference, said the community can serve as a "human bridge" to help build ties between Israel and Ukraine. More than 600,000 Jews from Ukraine have immigrated to Israel.
Limmud FSU Ukraine was originally launched in 2008, and has been held in Yalta, Truskavets, three times in Odessa, in Vinnitsa and in Uzhgorod.
"The key to Limmud’s success, its longevity and popularity, is a successful combination of education, recreation and communication, which is harmoniously combined in the unique Limmud atmosphere,” said Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler.
Limmud means study in Hebrew, so it was only fitting that this year's celebration of learning and knowledge was held in ancient Lviv, organizers said. The program included some 120 sessions that brought together more than 600 participants. S
even different sessions took place simultaneously, so that participants could shape their Limmud FSU Ukraine experience around their own priorities. In addition to lectures and talks, Limmud FSU Ukraine featured tours, workshops, master classes, concerts, exhibitions and round-table discussions.
Limmud FSU Ukraine had been sold out for two months, Chesler added, and would have to shift to a bigger venue next year.
Limmud Ukraine is sponsored by Limmud FSU and the Rothschild Foundation (UK), in cooperation with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.