Some 1,000 gathered in May for Limmud FSU New York, the biggest event geared towards the Russian-speaking Jewish community in the Tri-State area. On May 12,Congresswoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., opened an exhibition on Leonard Cohen’s life and Jewish roots.
Speaking at the conference’s opening ceremony at the Hilton Westchester, Lowey expressed her support for the State of Israel.
“I sit on the House Appropriations Committee, and I’m a member of the subcommittee that oversees foreign aid,” said Lowey. “We’re just starting the bill for 2018, and the only thing I can be sure of is that the money for Israel – foreign aid and military assistance – will be secure because there’s strong bipartisan support and I’m proud of that.”
There are currently an estimated 200,000 Russian Jews in the Tri-State area and 700,000 in the United States. Limmud FSU New York is a dynamic and pluralistic Jewish festival of culture, creativity and learning featuring more than 80 inspiring speakers and 120 panels, workshops and discussions on subjects ranging from art, to Jewish culture and tradition, history, politics, academics, business and lifestyles.
Sponsored by the Koret Foundation and Blavatnik Family Foundation, Limmud FSU New York explored a broad array of topics including Israel in the era of Trump, Jewish views of astrology and superstition, raising children in a diverse world, demystifying Shabbat, and religious Zionism. Top Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb gave a special performance during the tribute to Leonard Cohen.
“Aside from his remarkable musical achievements, Leonard was very much connected to his Jewish identity and roots, making him a role model for Jews across the world,” said Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler.
Among the featured presenters were Consul General of Israel in New York Dani Dayan; Member of Knesset Yoel Hasson; UJA-Federation of New York Director of Learning and Development and Jewish Parent Co-Founder Yelena Kutikova; American rabbi and bestselling author Joseph Telushkin; Muslim interfaith activist Nadiya Al-Noor; Abby Stein, the first openly transgender woman raised in the Hasidic community; acclaimed Russian animator Oleg Kuvaev, and many others.
“This inspiring gathering contributes to the incredible vitality of Russian-Jewish life in New York,” said Limmud FSU Co-Founder Sandy Cahn.