The Sunday event, featuring a performance by the Ukrainian band Boombox, was intended to encourage potential Birthright candidates to sign up for the trip.

An incredible 2,500 Birthright Israel alumni and friends gathered in Odessa in southern Ukraine last week, part of the largest Birthright Israel event ever to take place outside Israel.

The city which was once home to Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky and poet Chaim Bialik, Odessa has thrived as a historical and cultural centre of Jewish life.

In 1939, Jews comprised a third of the city’s population, compared to just one percent today, but organisers said the Birthright Israel event showed that it was once again thriving, with 700 Jews from Odessa having made aliyah this year alone.

Returning from the trip, Birthright participants said it had had a “substantial impact” on their Jewish identity, their sense of belonging to a Jewish community, and their feeling of connection to Israel.

The Sunday event, featuring a performance by the Ukrainian band Boombox, was intended to encourage potential Birthright candidates to sign up for the trip.

Attendees included Birthright Israel’s chief executive Gidi Mark, Odessa Deputy Mayor Pavel Vugelman, Genesis Philanthropy Group chairman Gennady Gazin and delegations from Russia, Germany and Israel.