April 23, 2010
For many, recent Limmud FSU event was their first taste of Judaism
Following is a firsthand account of the recent Limmud FSU conference in Truskavets, Ukraine, by Yoram Dori, a guest lecturer at the event.
By YORAM DORI
By 4 a.m., we are already at Ben Gurion Airport, drowsy after a sleepless night. “Yes, I did pack everything myself. No, I haven’t been asked to take anything, and no, I’m not carrying anything sharp in my suitcase,” I respond to the questions of the nice young security woman checking my bags in the short line before the flight to Vienna. I am on my way to Ukraine to take part in a Limmud FSU conference. Founded by Chaim Chesler and co-founded by Sandra F. Cahn, Limmud FSU seeks to foster Jewish identity and continuity among Jewish young adults in the former Soviet Union.
A four-hour flight. A four-hour wait in the Vienna airport, then another 1 1/2-hour flight, and finally we reach the international airport in Lvov (“Lviv” in Ukrainian). It is a small, unimposing building, and there are lots of policemen and soldiers. It’s the first time in my life that I have run into such stringent security checks when entering a country. Dogs sniff the suitcases, which are also put through X-ray machines.
I go outside with some other conference-goers who have arrived from Israel with me. It’s bitterly cold; snow is piled up all around. There’s a small minivan that is to take us from Lvov to Truskavets, a spa town with mineral drinking water widely touted for its therapeutic powers. It’s my first encounter with the infrastructure of Ukrainian roads. The motorways have more pits than asphalt. The maximum speed you can drive is between 20-40 kilometers (12-24 miles) an hour. Go faster, and you’ll wreck both the car’s chassis and your passenger’s guts.
(L-r): The mayor of Buczacz, Emilian Orverko; Dr. Yael Blau, granddaughter of Shai Agnon; Chaim Chesler, head of Limmud FSU; and professor Dan Laor of Tel Aviv University at the unveiling ceremony of a plaque in memory of Buczacz-born Shai Agnon, Nobel prize laureate in literature. The event marked the end of the week-long Limmud FSU conference in Ukraine.
Click here to read full article.