The Limmud Jewish learning conference in Moscow attracted nearly 1,500 participants, making it the second-largest event of its kind worldwide.
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The three-day event, which closed Sunday at a resort just outside the Russian capital, was the largest Limmud event ever held outside Britain, Limmud International confirmed.
“It’s an amazing achievement considering that nine years ago nobody heard about Limmud here, and that 30 years ago Jewish life was completely underground,” Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler said.
A third of Limmud FSU Moscow’s participants this year were first-timers, according to Alexander Piatigorsky, co-founder of the first Moscow event in 2006 and senior executive at one of Russia’s largest cellular providers.
Among the speakers were Alexander Boroda, a senior Chabad rabbi, and Andrey Makarevich, a rock star.
“I came to Limmud FSU this year for the first time after a Jewish friend of mine, who is more religious than me, told me it has great content that broadens your horizons,” said Dennis Sher, who also volunteered at the event.
The conference featured a panel discussion by Jewish war veterans who participated in the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp 70 years ago and the inauguration of a photo exhibition celebrating their actions.
The Limmud model began in Britain in 1976 for and by Jewish educators and has since been adapted by Jewish communities from Australia to California. Limmud U.K. remains the largest, with 3,600 participants this year.
In former Soviet countries and countries with many Russian-speaking Jews, the conferences are organized by local volunteers with help from the Limmud FSU nonprofit, which was founded in 2006.