Shalom Life | November 14, 2014

Limmud FSU Canada Readies for its Inaugural Jewish Learning Festival

Kultura takes place at Deerhurst October 24 to 26

By: Dan Horowitz

Published: September 22nd, 2014 in News » World

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Canada became one of the most active centers of former Soviet Jewish immigration, with the GTA being the most popular destination, as some 70 percent of new immigrants chose to settle there. In all, Toronto’s Jewish-Russian population has gone from a few thousand in the 1970s to roughly 60,000 today.

With those numbers in mind, Limmud FSU Canada, a Jewish non-profit volunteer driven organization passionate about learning, community building and Jewish continuity, is preparing to spread its message to all members of the country’s Russian-speaking Jewish community.

Originating in Moscow, Russia 8 years ago, Limmud FSU is built on a unique model of seminars, lectures, workshops and discussions focusing on an eclectic range of topics.

Supported by Limmud FSU International, United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto, the Jewish Foundation of Montreal and private donations, Limmud FSU Canada - a growing force in the world of informal Jewish education – is gearing up for its first Canadian Educational Conference dubbed “Kultura”, being held at Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka, Ontario, from October 24th to 26th, and organizers hope that it will attract Russian-speaking Jews from across the country.

“Amongst today’s young Russian-speaking Jewish adults in Canada, there is a growing interest and involvement with Jewish communal life, Israeli advocacy, volunteerism, and expression of their Jewish identity,” says Lorne Goldstein, Governing Council Member, Limmud FSU Canada. “We need to support Limmud FSU Canada in their efforts to engage young Jewish adults of Russian-speaking background, and it is imperative for us to support the Kultura Conference - the first in Canada - with participants coming from across Canada, US and Israel.”

For Leon Martynenko, Co-Chair, Limmud FSU Canada, Kultura is a celebration of Jewish Russians unique identity and cultural heritage. Leon represents a 25 member Organizing Committee that is working relentlessly on planning and implementing the first Limmud FSU Conference in Canada. Together with Karina Rondberg he is co-chairing the conference. Galina Sandler is the Chair of the Governing Council. Mila Voihanski is Limmud FSU Canada Country Director.

“Our community of Jews from the FSU is one of the more diverse of the sub-groups of the general Jewish population in Canada,” says Martyneko. “Among us you can find Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, secular, traditionalists and very observant Jews, people who speak different languages, people who arrived to Canada over 40 years ago, and those who came here very recently, there are also many Israelis in our community. Yet, despite the multiple differences we all share cultural elements that unite us all.”

“For many years, UJA Federation has been investing in deepening the interconnectivity between our locally-born community and the Russian speaking Jewish community that has been arriving in the Greater Toronto Area over the last few decades,” says Adam Minsky, Senior Vice President, Community Capacity Building, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. “We have invested heavily in leadership development programs over the last few years, and the leaders who have emerged from that program have come to us with this proposal to stage the largest residential Jewish learning festival that the city has ever seen. For me, it’s a particular point of pride that the Russian-Jewish community is, through UJA Federation, and led by the leaders we helped to develop, and this segment of our community, is at the forefront of putting on a Jewish learning festival for the entire community.”

Limmud FSU Canada is about the journey – the process – and not just the conference itself. That journey is off to a fine start already.

To register for the LIMMUD FSU KULTURA FESTIVAL, visit here

For more information about Limmud FSU, check out their official website

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