In early August, I spent a day of my vacation at The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton, N.Y., where Limmud FSU had assembled more than 300 young Russian-speaking Jews for a day of informal Jewish learning.
The goal for bringing the FSU conference stateside last month, according to Sandy Cahn, the philanthropist who helped found Limmud FSU, was to strengthen the Jewish identity of Russian speakers in New York, not just Russian speakers in Russia. After speaking with a number of leaders in the New York Russian-speaking community, Cahn decided that the Hamptons conference could be an invigorating exercise.
The group says it’s not trying to step on the toes of the already established Limmud NY, which runs an annual informal learning conference in New York that draws about 1,000 people every year. Limmud NY representatives attended the Hamptons conference, too.
Fund raising was the other goal of the Hamptons conference, which showed donors and potential donors who cannot make it to Moscow or the far reaches of Birobidzhan (in Siberia) what the organization does (including the Genesis Philanthropy Group, which lately has been investing big money to build a better Russian-speaking Diaspora). Stay tuned for reporting from JTA’s Grant Slater from Birobidzhan’s Limmud conference later this month.