CHISINAU – Over 300 Jews of all ages from Moldova, southern Ukraine, Belarus and Russia gathered in the city of Chisinau for a long weekend of Limmud FSU from May 23 to 25.

A festival of Jewish learning, the conference features a packed program of more than 80 lectures, workshops, roundtable discussions, music and cultural events, all with the focus on celebrating what it is to be a Jew.

Participants, from toddlers with their parents to the older set, with a sizable high schoolage population lending an energized presence, are all taking part in a varied program of subjects. The topics range from the spiritual to the practical to the fanciful, including, “Songs of the Wisest of the Kings,” “In the Cage with a Tiger, or How to Deal with Aggression” and “Your Food Photograph is a Masterpiece.”

This location of Limmud, which originated in London and now takes place all over the world, is especially poignant.

Moldova’s Jewish history is rich with storied synagogues and fabled yeshivot, but marked by changing borders and pogroms.

Yet the recently independent Moldova of today, no longer a remote part of the Russian Empire, now hosts a significant Jewish community of 22,000, with about 15,000 concentrated in the capital of Chisinau, formerly known by its Russian name, Kishinev.

The entire Limmud FSU Moldova event was organized by a team of local volunteers and a programming committee, in collaboration with Alexander Bilinkis, the head of the Jewish community of Moldova and local Jewish organizations, and was co-sponsored by the US Embassy in Moldova. All presentations are given on a voluntary basis, in the tradition of all Limmud events.

“I find it very rewarding to volunteer for Limmud and bring the story of the success of Israel’s hi-tech industry to Jewish communities in the FSU. I am inspired by their curiosity and thirst for knowledge, as well as what I see as the renaissance of former Soviet Jewry after decades of suppression and cultural dormancy,” said Eli Itin, innovation evangelist at hi-tech giant Amdocs. Itin delivered lectures such as “Innovation and Israel’s Hi-tech Industry in the Post- Start-up Nation.”

“Limmud FSU Moldova is bringing together the best and brightest young Jews from throughout the region to learn, connect and celebrate the incredible rebirth of a historic community,” said Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU.

“We are privileged to experience and support this onceagain vibrant Jewish culture.”

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