After 11 years of activity, having become the most successful Jewish grassroots volunteer-driven project in the Russian-speaking Jewish community worldwide, Limmud FSU has announced it wants to be even more successful in its goal of strengthening the Jewish identity of young Russian-speaking Jews. It hopes the next decade will take it to new heights, audiences and record-breaking achievements.
As the organisation continues to grow, flourish and develop its 12 projects around the world, imaginative strategic thinking is needed to embark on its next steps.
The leadership, led by chairman Matthew Bronfman and president Aaron G. Frenkel, and the professional team headed by executive director Roman Kogan, together with a devoted team of volunteers drawn from all four continents, embarked in the past few weeks on a process to address the challenges facing the organisation, while working towards a vibrant and sustainable future for Russian-speaking Jewry.
Although Limmud FSU has proven its ability to attract unaffiliated young Jews, one of the most important targets in the next few years, starting with this year, will be to attract new audiences not involved with Limmud FSU or any other Jewish organisation or initiative, with an emphasis on young adults’ demographics.
For instance, this year, for the first time Limmud FSU NY will take place in the heart of New York City, with high hopes that the new location will attract new audiences as well.
Moreover, thanks to the generous grant of Covenant Foundation, Limmud FSU is able to concentrate on intensive volunteer leadership and Jewish education, which will add a new dimension to its activities in the US.
The approved programmes will create a ripple effect of enriched Jewish community, leadership, and learning among Russian-speaking Jews in the US.
Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler said: “To harness the enormous potential for leadership, engagement and impact, and to ensure continuity, we will put a strong emphasis to provide young potential leaders with an experience of Jewish learning and culture in ways that are intellectually challenging, spiritually compelling, and relevant to their lives.”
Sandra F. Cahn, co-founder of Limmud FSU, said: “There are approximately three million Russian-speaking Jews in the world, and while they are bound together by many diverse threads, they are often not affiliated with established Jewish institutions, and many grew up with limited Jewish knowledge.
“There is an acute need for programmes that nourish their group identity and in the next decade we will reach out for many more Jews who are hungry for knowledge.”
“We were also successful with engagement of Ukeles Associates firm, thanks to support from UJA – Jewish Federation of New York and GPG, in order to address critical choices of direction facing the rapid growth and challenges on the international Jewish communal scene”, said Cahn.
The strategic plans come after an extremely successful year with a record number of 10,000 participants (including 2,000 in Israel and 750 in St Petersburg in December 2017). More than 50,000 participants have joined Limmud FSU activities worldwide.
Limmud FSU is planning a global volunteer leadership summit in Poland for its leaders from nine countries in partnership with the March of the Living, with the goal of forming a network of young leaders who are educated in Jewish history, heritage, and culture, and who have the connections, skills, and tools to shape the future of the Russian-speaking Jewish community.
Also this year is the flagship conference in Moscow in April, Limmud FSU Volga-Urals, Limmud FSU Canada, Limmud FSU Ukraine in autumn, Limmud FSU Israel as well as other locations.
Matthew Bronfman, Limmud FSU Chair said :“The conclusions and the operative goals that were agreed on will be set in motion immediately”
Aaron G. Frenkel, Limmud FSU President, said: “As we enter our second decade, we strongly believe that our proven educational and communal model will help to ensure a vibrant and sustainable Jewish future for young Russian-speaking adults, wherever they may live.”