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Friday, 27 January 2017

World Jewish leaders to gather in the UK to celebrate Balfour Declaration anniversary

Jewish leaders from across the world and more than 650 Russian-speaking Jews from more than 20 European countries will gather in Windsor for the first-ever Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union) Europe regional conference in the United Kingdom.

The conference, February 3-5, will take place one hundred years after the Balfour Declartion in which Britain declared its support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Israel.

The Balfour Declaration, dated Nov. 2, 1917, was sent from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild. It paved the way for the formation of the modern State of Israel.

The text of the letter was incorporated into the Sevres peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire and the Mandate for Palestine. The Limmud FSU Europe conference will include a centennial celebration of the declaration.

Limmud FSU Europe is the first extra-territorial Limmud conference which will feature more than 100 lectures, workshops, presentations and discussions by leading figures including British members of Parliament; Israeli members of Knesset, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.K. Mark Regev, former Ambassador of Israel to the U.N. Ron Prosor; American historian Deborah Lipstadt, best known for her book “Denying the Holocaust”, Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein.

“This unprecedented continental gathering will bring together major Jewish leaders and the Russian-speaking Jewish communities of Europe celebrate the Balfour Declaration, which paved the way for the formation of the modern State of Israel,” said Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler and Co-Founder Sandy Cahn. “Our first extra-territorial Limmud FSU will also be our first nomadic conference, convening Russian-speaking Jews from across the Europe in the continent’s informal capital.”

This continental gathering marks the first time in its decade-long history that Limmud FSU is not geared toward Russian-speaking Jews of a specific city or country. More than 250,000 Russian-speaking Jews currently reside in Europe, making it one of the world’s largest Russian-speaking Jewish communities.

Limmud FSU Europe is being held in partnership with the Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), a private foundation with the mission of developing and enhancing a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews around the world.

“Limmud FSU Europe is a unique platform, uniting Russian-speaking Jews from different communities and backgrounds,” said Limmud FSU Europe Chairman Semyon Dovzhik. “Russian-European Jews see Limmud FSU as an outstanding opportunity to reconnect with their Jewish roots and preserve their cultural heritage. This is why the idea of Limmud speaks to people who previously declined any involvement with Jewish communities. Despite the current political climate in Europe, Limmud FSU continues to bring people together.”