Name of implementing organization:Limmud FSU
Date of initial project approval:February 2007
Through intense programming and activities, Limmud FSU provides a comfortable, safe environment, linking people together to think, to learn, and to deepen their Jewish identity and Jewish engagement. Limmud works to inspire enthusiasm for Jewish life and Jewish study in Ukraine, Russia ,and Belarus. Limmud FSU's informal Jewish educational activities reflect its commitment to preparing the Jewish leaders of tomorrow.
Prior to the commencement of the project, the Limmud FSU International Steering Committee Steering (comprised of representatives of the Claims Conference, JAFI, JDC, and the Pincus Fund) was established to oversee it.
The project began in late Spring 2008, with establishment of volunteer committees, which will began the work of preparing for the first major Limmud FSU Ukraine conference. The committees worked via the internet, e-mail, and telephone, and were mentored by sub-committees of the Limmud FSU in Yalta Organizing Committee and the International Limmud FSU Executive Committee.
A leadership-training seminar was conducted for 80 Limmud Ukraine activists, to strengthen the organizational and leadership skills of participants. Those attending the seminar included current community activists, and also other young adults interested in being involved in Limmud FSU. Limmud activists from abroad, as well as those who played an active role in the first Limmud FSU, conducted training sessions.
The first main Limmud FSU Ukraine conference, with 1,000 participants, took place in Yalta during October 27-30 2008. The program included the following themes: Israel Yesterday and Today; Jewish Arts and Culture; Jewish Philosophy and Tradition; Jewish History, with a particular focus on the FSU; Jewish Values; Jewish Demography; and Anti-Semitism. Lecturers included Ukraine-based Jewish academics, local religious leaders, local community leaders, and academics and community leaders from other parts of the FSU and from abroad.
Shortly after Limmud FSU in Yalta, planning began for mini-Limmud ongoing learning events throughout Ukraine. In 2009, the project will conduct two mini-Limmud conferences (with 50 participants each), and two leadership-training seminars (with 15 participants) to prepare local activists to plan and to implement these mini-Limmud events. The mini-Limmud conferences are expected to take place in Kiev and in Dnepropetrovsk. Each conference will extend for 3 days and will include local lecturers, as well as lecturers from the FSU and from abroad. The leadership training seminars will be conducted in the communities where the mini-Limmud conferences are to take place.
The project also includes a series of 8 non-residential lectures on various topics.
Participants reported a high degree of satisfaction with Limmud FSU in Yalta, particularly the pluralistic nature of the event and its success in engaging Russian-speakers with experiential Jewish learning, and outreaching to young people across the FSU. Participants were very positive about the idea of continued engagement and of recommending future events to friends and family.
However, evaluators found more nuanced responses among dedicated volunteers. Many volunteers were extremely positive. Others were exhausted as a result of the conference's intensity, and/or were unsure of their exact role in the event.
Overall the Conferences can be judged a success according to a number of key criteria: