A Limmud conference scheduled for November 2-5 in Truskavetz, Ukraine has been postponed due to swine flu.
Since the country's health ministry declared H1N1 an epidemic following some 52 deaths, Ukraine has taken some of the world's strictest measures in order to combat the disease. Schools and universities have been closed, travel restrictions put into place and public gatherings banned.
This was to be the second Limmud conference in the Ukraine, part of a convention series that provides a unique model of cross-communal, volunteer-led, dynamic Jewish education in which participants of all ages and walks of life have the opportunity to attend lectures and workshops held by community members and experts.
Limmud FSU held its first conference in Moscow in 2008 and has since gone on to hold conferences in a total of five countries on three continents. The most recent Limmud FSU conference took place in Birobidjan, Stalin's proposed Jewish homeland in far-eastern Russia.
Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU, is disappointed about the postponement of the Truskavetz conference, but sees the move as necessary - and refuses to get downhearted.
"We worked on this project for six months and had about 500 participants," he told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. "We have 200 lectures ready to go... there were a huge number of volunteers involved, and a huge amount of money."
The postponement of the conference, said Chesler, has cost organizers a fair amount of money. They are, however, holding on to participants' registration fees out of certainty that the conference will eventually be held.
Chesler refuses to give up on the symposium altogether.
"We didn't cancel it, we postponed it... maybe for a few months. Until now, it was my gut feeling [that we should postpone the conference because of swine flu]... [but ultimately] we got a decree from the government of Ukraine," explained Chesler.
"You can imagine what would have happened in Limmud if someone had died because of this. We have a responsibility towards the participants."