About 150 participants attended the opening ceremonies of the World Union for Progressive Judaism’s regional conference for Jews in the former Soviet Union.
Russia’s chief Reform rabbi, Alexander Lyskovoi, and union leaders from Jerusalem were among the speakers Thursday at the union’s 17th annual conference, convened near the Moscow suburb of Zelenograd. Participants for the four-day event came from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.
Addressing humorous references by other speakers about the movement’s aging membership, the union’s chief financial officer, Todd Warnick, noted the many young people in the audience.
“The older generation gives us the base,” said a smiling Warnick, “and the younger people give us the future.”
Despite being a player in the former Soviet Union since the final days of the USSR, the union has struggled in recent years to match the power and funding of Chabad’s Kremlin-connected Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia and the CIS.