(JTA) – Over 1,000 people have registered for the Moscow Limmud at a government-owned resort.
Participants of the annual Jewish learning conference paid $300-$500 to attend the four-day event, which will open Friday at the Klyasma resort just outside the Russian capital, organizers said. The for-profit complex is owned by the Department for Presidential Affairs of the Russian Federation.
The conference, featuring lecturers and workshops on issues ranging from women’s role in community leadership to Israeli medicine, will open during a tense period in Russia’s relations with the West over Moscow’s annexation last month of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. Critics charged the Kremlin with instrumentalizing concerns of anti-Semitism to justify the move.
“Undoubtedly this is an unusual period in Russia, but we didn’t even consider postponing because Limmud FSU is an apolitical, nonpartisan body that can work with all parties regardless of politics to strengthen Jewish life in Russia, Ukraine and many other places,” said Chaim Chesler, founder of the Limmud FSU not-for-profit organization. Chesler said the Moscow event was the flagship of the organization, which “is helping build bridges between communities across the Russian-speaking world.”
Among the speakers at Limmud Moscow is Tsvia Walden, a well-known Israeli psycholinguist and daughter of Israeli President Shimon Peres, Chesler said. Walden is arriving in Moscow with her husband, Raphael Walden, the deputy director of the Sheba Medical Center who also is scheduled to speak about Israeli medicine.
Limmud Moscow will serve kosher food certified by one of Russia’s two chief rabbis, Rabbi Berel Lazar of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia.