limfsuAbout 70,000 FSU Jews, most in Toronto, among 330,000 in Canada overall

Limmud FSU Canada, Deerhurst Resort, Oct. 24-26

TORONTO, Oct. 20 — Some 400 Russian-speaking Jews are expected to convene in Ontario this month for the inaugural Limmud FSU conference in Canada, Oct. 24-26. A dynamic and pluralistic Jewish festival of learning, culture and creativity, Limmud FSU Canada will feature such prominent speakers as event Honorary Chair MP Irwin Cotler, a Canadian-Jewish leader and human rights activist; MP Mark Adler, the first Jewish elected representative from the Conservative Party; Limor Livnat, Israel’s Minister of Culture & Sport; Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, best-selling author and media personality; Marat Ressin, a Canadian Russian-Jewish entrepreneur; Sophie Milman, the star jazz vocalist;Matthew Bronfman, Limmud FSU chair; and many others.

Limmud FSU Canada, in collaboration with UJA-Federation of Greater Toronto, will take place at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, ON, site of the 2010 G8 Summit. Limmud FSU Canada will offer a wide array of sessions, from “Not Just ISIS and Hamas: The threat of Islamic Radicalization on Israel and on the Western world” to “Canadian Jews: A unique community or just American Jews in the making?” Other sessions will focus on the crisis in Ukraine, Jewish life in the Russian Empire, the Russian-speaking Jewish elite in Russia; and such esoteric topics as “The Shadchan — the Art of Jewish Matchmaking” and a Kosher Wine workshop. Limmud FSU Canada will also feature nature walks, theater and programs for children.

This is the first time the global conference for Russian-speaking Jews is being held in Canada, home to about 330,000 Jews, including an estimated 70,000-plus Russian speakers, many in the Greater Toronto area. The contemporary Russian-speaking Jewish community in Canada — among the centers of Russian-Jewish immigration globally — is shaped by three waves of immigration, starting with the major exodus of Jews from the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s; Jews from countries of the former Soviet Union including those who first went to Israel, between 1990 and 2001; and since then those who first immigrated to Israel in the 1990s. A large percentage, nearly 220,000, of the country’s overall Jewish population lives in the Greater Toronto Area, including about 20-30,000 Israelis.

Now, Canadian Russian-speaking Jews are seeking to develop their own conference, geared to this unique community. Local community organizers include conference Co-Chairs Karina Rondberg and Leon Martynenko; Chair of the Governing Council Galina Sandler; and council members Julia Koschitzky and Shoel Silver.

“We are tremendously excited to be holding the first Limmud FSU festival in Canada, with its rich Jewish history and growing Russian-speaking population,” said Limmud FSU Co-Founder Sandra Cahn. “Limmud FSU Canada will provide an important and potentially historic opportunity to offer programs that address and engage this emerging community for generations to come.”


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