Nearly 400 mainly young Jews from Moldova and the southern Ukraine have gathered in the city of Chisinau, May 23-25, for a unique purpose: to learn about their Jewish heritage.
More than 22,000 Jews live in Moldova, with about 15,000 concentrated in the capital city. For more than a century, Chisinau (formerly known by its Russian name of Kishinev) has been marked by its rich Jewish history.
Today, this once-remote part of the former Russian Empire is the vibrant capital of the recently independent Republic of Moldova, with a newly thriving Jewish community.
The event is Limmud Former Soviet Union - Moldova conference, which is being organized by a team of local volunteers and a programming committee, in collaboration with the head of the Jewish community of Moldova, Alexander Bilinkis, local Jewish organizations and co-sponsored by the USA Embassy in Moldova.
The conference will include over 80 lectures, presentations, cultural performances, workshops, excursions and round-table discussions, in the tradition of all Limmud FSU events.
“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 once-again vibrant Jewish culture.”
Limmud FSU is a nonprofit founded eight years ago by Chaim Chesler, former treasurer of the Jewish Agency; Sandra Cahn, philanthropist from New York; and Professor Michael Chlenov of Moscow. The goal: to engage young Russian-Jewish adults and empowers them to take ownership of their identity.
The organization operates in seven countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, USA, Canada and Israel. Some 25,000 participants have taken part in its conferences, projects and festivals.
Key partners include the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the Claims Conference, JDC, philanthropists Matthew Bronfman, Aaron Frenkel and Diane Wohl; Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs; the Ministry of Education; the Jewish National Fund (KKL); Dr. Nona International; Nativ; and the Jewish Agency.