My new big supporting family.
I was born in Israel to a post-Soviet family that later moved to Canada. My constant exposure to (at least) three different cultures is inexplicably unique. It is a very particular combination of of Soviet films, Russian music, Jewish humour, Israeli ‘hutzpa’, (and not to mention all the holidays!!!), intertwined together, forming a big part of my identity I never thought I would be able to share with anyone. To my very surprise Limmud FSU is the manifestation of this phenomenon on a much larger scale than just my family. However, despite the fact that everyone participating in Limmud FSUcomes from similar backgrounds, each person comes with their own unique stories, perspectives, opinions and experience. Just when I think I know everything there is to know about my culture and history, I find myself discovering more.
I attended and volunteered at Limmud FSU conferences both in Toronto and New York. I enjoy it because the lectures cover a wide range of topics that challenge me intellectually. The conference is a platform through which I was able to not only make new friendships, but also make professional connections. And finally, being surrounded by people that share similar values to mine, makes me feel at home.
Being a Masters student, I know how easy it is to lose connection with my community. Limmud FSU provides me with the chance to reconnect with it, and feel like I’m part of a big and supporting family.
How Limmud FSU Affected Me.
As an educator, I have always been interested in intellectual growth and opportunities to interact with people who have new ideas. When I first attended Limmud FSU, it was in New Jersey and I was 19. I found myself immersed in interesting programming, dance lessons, and I absolutely loved meeting young Jewish people just like me who wanted to feel part of a larger community. I interacted with people from Canada and the United States, and learned about different Political Issues in the U.S and Canada, as well as, Israel, and how they are all interconnected.
I have attended Limmud FSU at Blue Mountain last year (2017) and loved it too! I volunteered in the Kids program and now am also helping out for this upcoming Limmud FSU 2018. I find that this is a great way to connect with my own friends, as well as with people I do not see that often in our community. I feel refreshed and though (?) my identity has been renewed every time I leave Limmud FSU.
I definitely plan on coming back! See you there!
My Great Experience.
I just finished my Master’s in English Literature, so I am inherently in love with all things literature and knowledge. I attended the one-day conference organized at the Lebovic campus this year and really enjoyed the talk about Canadian Jews in the Holocaust. I can’t believe how much more there is to learn about topics that I thought I knew so much about. It was great to see my acquaintances and friends there, brush up on my Russian during an amazing poetry session, and end the day off with a show directed by a friend.
It was a great, immersive experience that led me to volunteer for Limmud.
I will definitely be participating in the upcoming conference!
Limmud FSU is for you!
Limmud FSU (FSU stands for Former Soviet Union) is an amazing opportunity. Having attended seven conferences so far, I can say with certainty that Limmud is right for you. By that I mean that these educational events allow any Russian-Jewish person to feel a part of the community. And the broad range of simultaneous activities also allows for a customized experience at the conference. Want to sign up for a workshop? The choice is yours! Want to attend a new Shabbat experience lecture the first night? Go for it! Looking to meet people with similar interests, backgrounds and geographic location? GO AHEAD!
I was able to grow my global Russian-Jewish network by attending these conferences. The environment is very relaxed, everyone is friendly and everyone comes from different yet similar walks of life. The similarity comes from the FSU connection that everyone shares. There is a mutual understanding of the importance of education and our history, personal experiences and memories are shared through lectures and seminars throughout the conference.
Another great benefit of the conference, is that if during a certain timeframe you find yourself not interested in any of the events, which is unlikely, you are free to relax in the hotel facilities. You will be a registered guest of the hotel. The common areas are the best part – it’s where the tusovka (Russian for chilling) happens! It’s the best way to meet someone new and have an interesting conversation.
Limmud FSU is for the whole family. The Canadian Limmud FSU events provide thought-provoking sessions for teens to share their families’ FSU traditions and culture. These experiences are an important forum for Russian-speaking Jewish teens, especially for teens that grew up in Canada. Children are also lucky – they have full timetables of activities to keep them entertained.
Throughout the weekend, you will gain new experiences and meet new people. Limmud FSU is definitely a must-do event, at least once in your life. Hope to see you at our next Limmud FSU event!
Boris Varshavsky, Chair, Limmud FSU Canada
Место встречи: Лимуд
С будущим избранником можно познакомиться в любом месте: на улице, в очереди, на танцах. Если вы познакомились на танцах, то скорее всего ваша будущая половина или хорошо танцует, или хотя бы испытывает интерес к танцам, если в очереди на заправку, то вы хотя бы сможете подменивать друг друга в ваших путешествиях. Место встречи многое говорит об интересах и умениях возможного кандидата. Лимуд – место, куда едва ли попадёт случайный прохожий. Познакомившись с кем то на Лимуде вы можете быть уверены, что ваш новый друг как минимум интересуется Еврейской культурой и как максимум продвигает её в массы.
Мы познакомились у лифта на Лимуде во Львове в ноябре 2014 года. На конференции нет хороших или плохих мест для знакомства: во всех его уголках так или иначе речь идёт о чем то совершенно еврейском. Иногда разговора в пять минут бывает достаточно, чтобы вызвать правильное согласно Еврейской традиции шедухов желание- встретиться ещё раз. Однако мы не знали, что следующая встреча состоится аж через восемь месяцев, когда Женя приедет в Нью-Йорк, чтобы усердно изучать идиш на продвинутых курсах в ИВО. На этот раз мы решили, что мы должны узнать друг друга лучше и не ограничиваться общением возле лифта.
В ноябре 2015 году мы снова встретились на Лимуде. И снова во Львове. И снова разъехались по своим городам. Только в этот раз делегация из Нью-Йорка в Украину была больше, и каждый человек увёз с собой по одному экстра чемоданчику. Вскоре вслед за своими девятью чемоданчиками приехала и сама Женя. В Лос Анджелесе и Нью Йорке Женя уже выступала как презентер от Нью Йорка, а 4 июля Раввин объявил нас мужем и женой.
Ребята, место встречи имеет значение!
Zhenya Lopatnik & Misha Gorn, New York. Limmud presenters, long-time volunteers and participants.
My Limmud FSU journey
Every day we meet people who have traveled a journey – a journey through time, space, political regimes, and often unique careers. We interact with these people and learn things about their pasts and the generations that led to the realities we see today. More often than not the stories are different and the journeys rarely seem to connect to one another. In contrast, when I attended my first ever Limmud FSU conference in Toronto, it was incredible to see how so many experiences intertwined and how every story could be shared and followed deeply with one another. Of course, there were small differences in the technicalities and the timing of events, but the rooted connections that were shared and celebrated were evident. Participants were proud of their Soviet Jewish heritage and of how it shaped them. And so, Limmudniki of all ages, genders, and Jewish streams gathered at a conference to socialize and attend educational workshops. The adults attended their own programs while volunteers, like myself, facilitated early youth education.
My co-facilitator and I – both having been counselors at a Russian-speaking Jewish camp called J. Academy – used our background and experience to create programs designed to engage children in the exploration and discovery of their Soviet-Jewish culture in a fun, modern, and interactive way. Activities ranged from healthy cooking and theater workshops to university and career panel discussions tailored for teens and young adults. Soon after, I was flying out with a few other Canadians to volunteer with Limmud FSU in New York! I entered the venue of the conference wavering between excitement and fear of the social and cultural differences that might exist between busy New Yorkers and polite Torontonians. Finding myself surrounded by the unfamiliarity of hundreds of strangers standing at the welcome desk, hungry and exhausted from the long trip, certainly did not seem to help settle my emotions. However, 72 hours later I stood in that same lobby saying farewell to the hundreds of strangers who I now consider my friends and family. I was astonished by the personal connections that Limmud helped me form in that short span of time. There is an evident bond which ties the Russian-speaking Jewish people together from all over the world. Whether it’s in New York or Toronto, the alikeness of our individual journeys forms an inevitable kinship.
Ilana Golzman, Limmud FSU Canada children’s program facilitator
Ability to shape up the future of my family and the Jewish community
Being a part of the Limmud family for the second year feels great and personally rewarding. Each year, the conference brings together people of all ages from our local and global community who come together to learn and acquire something new, socialize, network, and feel belonging. As a person who left former Soviet Union for Israel at the age of 14 and then, another 14 year later, emigrated to Canada with her own family, I am proud to call Canada my home. I love Canada and embrace this amazing and a very unique opportunity that allows myself, my family, and my friends to maintain our identities no matter how dispersed and far from the religion some of us are.
Volunteering for Limmud provides me with a sense of control and the ability to shape up the future of my family and the Jewish community in general. The conference allows our children (and the entire community) to see that we have a lot of talents and skills to share and be proud of. The importance of our Jewish spirit to carry on and to be celebrated as we go through our lives should be very important to each and everyone one of us. See you at Limmud FSU EXPLORE!
Viktoria Feldman, Children Program Coordinator