Presenters

OUR amazing presenters will share their talents and knowledge at Limmud FSU Australia 2016. Here are some people You'll meet:

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Zeev Elkin - Born in 1971 in Kharkov, Zeev studied math at the Kharkov University. In high school, Elkin began learning Hebrew secretly. In 1989, he established the local Hebrew Teachers Organisation, became the Deputy Head of the 100,000 member Jewish community of Kharkov, and the first and last head of Bnei Akiva of the Soviet Union. Elkin immigrated to Israel in December of 1990 and studied at the Har Etzion Yeshiva, while at the same time working in the Aliyah department.Elkin has a BA in Mathematics and MA in the History of the Jewish People from the Hebrew University, and before his election to the Knesset, was at an advanced stage of completing a doctoral thesis at the Hebrew University in the subject of Jews in Islamic countries in the Middle Ages. He taught in the University’s School of History of the Jewish People and the School of History, and headed the Chais Center for Jewish Studies in Russian. In addition, he served as an advisor on Russian Jewry to the head of the Education Department of the Jewish Agency. Elkin was first elected to the Knesset in 2006, and in the 17th Knesset he served as a member of the Finance Committee, the Education Committee, the Constitutional Committee, and the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee. In the 18th Knesset Elkin served as Chairman of the Likud Faction and Chairman of the Coalition, as well as chairman of the Sub-Committee on Judea & Samaria in the Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, chairman of the Land of Israel Lobby, chairman of the Jerusalem Lobby, chairman of the Lobby for Supporting the Diaspora, and chairman of the Lobby for Gush Katif Evacuees. Minister Elkin continues to serve as Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage and is a member of the Security Cabinet. Elkin lives in Kfar Eldad in Gush Etzion. He is married with five children.

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Roman Kogan – Executive Director of Limmud FSU. Born in Tallinn, Roman emigrated to Israel in 1991. A graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of International Relations and Journalism, Roman served as a press attaché in the Knesset, headed the press service of the Jewish Agency in St. Petersburg, and represented the Department of Education of the Jewish Agency in the Baltic States. Roman joined Limmud FSU in 2010 as Chief Operations Officer and was promoted to Executive Director in 2014.

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Rami Teplitskiy – The Shaliach (Israeli Emissary) of Kangarusski — Russian-speaking Jewish community in Australia. Rami will soon receive a Master’s degree in Political, Legal and Economic Philosophy (PLEP) from the University of Bern, Switzerland. Recently, he interned at the United Nations in New York in Capacity Development in the Headquarter Committee on Contracts. He graduated with a Bachelor in Political Science and Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. Rami has experience in the educational profession as a volunteer tutor for children with special needs and as a teacher in after-school science classes. Rami made aliyah to Israel with his family early in his childhood. During his IDF service, he trained and commanded new recruits in basic combat training.

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Katya Katsman – A graduate of Tel Aviv University, Master of Clinical Social Work. Certified family therapist of the Israeli association of family therapy. Sexologist (a graduate of Bar Ilan University). Since 2006, Katya manages a private practice – individual, couples and family. In addition, she conducts lectures, seminars and workshops for parents on the topics of parenting and relationships with children, sex education for minors and personal growth. She is a regular guest of the Israeli Channel 9.

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Vladimir Paley  President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the FSU, private genealogist, owner, Paley Info – Genealogy Service in the former Soviet Union, Europe, USA and Israel. Co-founder (1992) and President (1995-2000) Jewish Genealogical Society of the former Soviet Union in Moscow. Assistant Professor, Jewish University in Moscow (1996-2003) member of the International Association of private detectives (since 2012)

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Chaim Chesler – Founder and Chairman, Executive Committee, Limmud FSU. In 2006, together with Sandra Cahn (US) and Mikhail Chlenov (Russia), Chaim founded Limmud FSU and chairs its Executive Committee. As Executive Director of the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry, he worked in Israel and around the globe to raise awareness of the struggle of Soviet Jews and their right to repatriate to Israel. Chaim headed the Jewish Agency for Israel’s delegation to the former Soviet Union and the United States, and served as Treasurer for the Jewish Agency.

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Arthur Marx  An accomplished therapist and author, who founded the Sydney Results Clinic. Arthur is a psychotherapist, specialising in clinical hypnotherapy, assisting patients in making positive emotional and behavioural changes. His specialities include assiting clients with challenges such as motivation, confidence, relationships, anxiety, depression, fears and phobias. Other areas of focus are behavioural changes, such as smoking, weight loss, eating disorders, compulsive behaviours and negative habits. His book “Saving Minds: How to have a healthy mind without medication”, uncovers why current approaches to psychological treatment including medication, don’t produce results and what to do about it. Arthur graduated with a BA from the University of NSW, followed by a Postgraduate Dip. Psyc from the University of New England. He is a registered clinical hypnotherapist with the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists and also the Australian Hypnotherapists Association. He is a certified master practitioner of neurolinguistic programming (NLP) and holds professional memberships with the Australian Board of Neurolinguistic Programming as well as the Australia Counselling Association.

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Dr Leonid Talpis – Leonid a well-known medical doctor and psychotherapist in Russia and is the founder of the Technique Universal Therapy. Dr Leonid Talpis has years of teaching experience and delivers insightful and engaging seminars. Leonid is one of the pioneers in the use of metaphorical associative cards and is also trained in Gestalt, body-oriented and systemic therapies, family constellation and NLP.

Sasha Klyachkina

Sasha Klyachkina  Informal educator and secular weddings officiator and social activist, Sasha made aliyah by herself from Russia in 1995 at the age of 14. Since her IDF service as a soldierteacher, she is deeply involved in the field of Jewish education. Until August 2015, she worked in Melbourne as a Jafi shlicha for the Russian-speaking Jewish community in Australia. She is the Founder of the “Kangarusski” brand and former Chair of Limmud FSU Australia. Currently, Sasha lives in Israel and works as a PR and Educational director in an Israeli NGO“Tzabar-Parents” that she founded 4 years ago. Sasha loves matryoshkas, seledka and everything Russian-Jewish. Sasha and her husband Yoni are parents of Ilan (5) and Dafna (1).

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Igor Irtenev  Born in Moscow in 1947, Igor is one of the most important representatives of the contemporary Russian poetry with ironic trends. He graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Cinema. He worked on TV, for the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets”, was the chief editor of the satirical magazine “Zhvanetski’s shop”. Igor is also a member of the Union of Journalists of the USSR, Union of Writers of the USSR, and the Russian PEN Center. He was also the President of the Moscow club “Poetry”. Irteniev authored twenty books.

Irina Nisina

Irina Lyalya Nisina – An experienced writer, who has authored numerous short stories and novels in historical-romantic, literary realism and science fiction genres. Some of the publications include: Literary Gazette, Neva, Russian Intellectual, Patron and Peace, and Southern Star (Russia) Aleph (Israel), Mishpoha (Belarus),New Journal, Sides of the World, Florida-Rus, Seagull (United States) and Our Canada (Canada). Two of Irina’s books were published in the United States: Departure from Central Station and Beer-Water Lane. Although different in genres and topics, all Irina Lyalya Nisina’s work is based on the ideas of humanism and humanity, brimming with promise and optimism.

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Rabbi Yoram Ulman  A Senior Dayan on the Sydney Beth Din, Rabbi Ulman has wowed audiences across the world. His expertise and key interest is in medical advances and their Halachic ramifications.Rabbi Ulman is the founder and spiritual leader of F.R.E.E. (Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe) Synagogue and Jewish Centre in Bondi Beach NSW.

Alex Ryvchin

Alex Ryvchin  Public Affairs Director at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. Alex worked for a member of the NSW LegislativeCouncil as a researcher and speechwriter before practising law at two of the world’s largest law firms: Mallesons Stephen Jaques in Sydney and Herbert Smith in London. He served as a spokesman for the Zionist Federation UK, founded The Jewish Thinker opinion website and was awarded aprestigious Israel Research Fellowship to work as a research fellow and staff writer at a Jerusalem-based think-tank. A prominent speaker and writer on the Arab-Israeli conflict, foreign and national affairs, and religion and identity, he has appeared in leading publications in Australia and throughout the world including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator, The Guardian, The National Post (Canada) and The Age, and on numerous TV and radio programs.

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Alla Bossart  Journalist, film critic, novelist, poet, writer. A member of the Writers’ Union, the Union of Cinematographers, the National Academy “Nika”. She has worked for over 40 years for various national publications. In the years of Perestroika, she was one of the leading columnists for the magazine Ogonyok, then – the magazine Capital and Moscow News. From 1994 to 2012, she worked as a columnist and editor for Novaya Gazeta. Author of six books of prose.

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Dr Ron Weiser AM  Born in Sydney, Australia and is the son of Holocaust survivors. He has over 35 years of communal involvement. A past President of the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) who increased the activity and effectiveness of the organisation. Ron’s involvement with the Jewish community is crossorganisational: Bnei Akiva youth movement and the ZCNSW are just some of the groups he has helped to develop further. He is a practising dentist and is passionate about the Australian community and Israel.

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Hemi Rudner  One of the finest musicians in the Israeli rock scene. Over the last two decades, Hemi Rudner has managed a successful career as the lead singer and songwriter of “Eifo Hayeled?” (Where is the Kid?) band and as a solo artist. Starting their activity in early 90s, “Eifo Hayeled?” are one of the most prominent groups in Israeli music. Rudner’s live performance is often described as fine and touching, yet energetic and kicking. It integrates mixed hits from all albums and sometimes even covers all-time favourites. One thing is for sure – his show will excite you to the core of your heart.

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Fay Sussman  Jazz singer and Klezmer Diva. For Fay, music is the ultimate language of peace. The alternately soulful and sassy singer lives a commitment to keeping the Jewish heritage alive through music. Born to a long line of cantors, Polish-born Fay came to Australia through Israel as a youngster, but her childhood memories are all of the songs of her parents‚ and grandparents, in Walbcze or the streets of Tel Aviv where she sang with other survivors as a statement: “Am Yisroel Chai!” (the Jewish People Are Alive!). She has become a sensation on the folk and world music circuit as well as a voice for understanding in a world of conflict. Fay sings the wild and joyous Jewish jazz as well as the reflective and soulful music of the shtetl (villages).

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Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya A writer and an artist with a strong natural science background. She is a member of Union of the Russian Writers and Russian PEN Centre. Tatiana was born in Simpheropol, Crimea and studied physics at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and philology at the Moscow State Humanitarian University. She received a PhD degree from the University of New South Wales, Australia, in the area of contemporary Russian experimental poetry. Tatiana is an author of ten books of prose, poetry and translation including Introduction into the Literature of Formal restrictions (Samara:Bakhrakh-M, 2009, in Russian), Idti Legko (New York: Stosvet Press, 2011, in Russian), and Istoki Ustiny (Moscow: Art-Haus Media, 2015, in Russian). She co-edited Freedom of Restriction Anthology (in Russian). Her poetry in English appeared in Can I Tell You a Secret?, Across the Russian Wor(l)d, Bridges Anthologies, London Grip, The Disappearing, Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, The POEM. Tatiana is also a researcher and organiser of cultural projects.

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Eddie Jaku  Was born in Leipzig in 1920. In 1938, Nazis stormed his home, beat him and sent him to his first concentration camp in Buchenwald. Eddie went on to survive the concentration camps in Belgium, France, Auschwitz, a death march and months in hiding. Eddie’s amazing story has inspired many and is one that is sure to stay in your hearts.

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Dr Mark Muhlmann  A presenter, who spends most of his time at work saving people’s lives. He is known to many Jewish people in Sydney and some of us are forever grateful to him. Dr Muhlmann is a colorectal and general surgeon, currently working at the Prince of Wales Public and Private Hospitals in Randwick, Sydney NSW. After attending a Jewish private school for 12 years, enrolling into a Medical School was the next logical step for Mark. His surgical training took him around the world, including England, New Zealand and most Australian states. He has a keen interest in early detection and prevention of bowel cancer, as well as its treatment. Dr Mark Muhlmann is one quarter Odessan and one quarter Egyptian, mixed with a bit of Aussie. The topic of his presentation is: “Bowel cancer in Jewish Russian Immigrants—Kolbasa? Chernobyl? Or just bad Ashkenazi genes?”

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Yelena Revis  Professional artist and art educator who blends her rich European heritage with the strong colours and energy inherent in Australia to create artwork that bridges both cultures. Yelena is a highly educated and experienced artist and is an accomplished lecturer specialising in painting, graphics and art history/theory. She was educated at the Omsk State University, Russia, where she graduated with First Class Honours, Master of Fine Arts (Painting). After graduating, she lectured Fine Arts at the same university for 14 years. Yelena’s work is featured in art galleries and exhibitions in Russia, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia. An inspirational teacher, she also runs art classes in Bondi and Chatswood / Artarmon specialising in imparting a grasp of depth, tone and awareness of light in subjects to her students.

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Boris Greiss – Head of the Russian Radio Australia and President of the Australian National Union of Media and Culture Workers. Boris is also a Member of the Union of Journalists (USSR), Member of the Union of Theatre Workers (USSR) and Movie Director.

 

 

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Boris Manor – Director of Research and Development of the Teachers Organisation in post-primary schools of Israel. Boris is also the Deputy Mayor of Ashkelon, the city that absorbed many immigrants (Olim) from the former Soviet Union. As part of the job as Deputy Mayor, Boris Manor serves as Commissioner of encouraging excellence; he is in charge of housing culture and urban renewal Committee, is a Chairmanof Absorption and Member of the Finance Committee.

  
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Leo Novikov Russian-born violinist, laureate of the International Competition “Golden Channukiah”, Leo Novikov recieved a classical education in Moscow. He was a member of world renowned Moscow Philharmonic orchestra, member of the Ensemble of Soloists “Moscow Philharmonics”, played one of the main roles in the play “Doctor Faustus” at the State Academic Youth Theatre and the role of the Fiddler in the famous musical “The Fiddler on the Roof” at the Moscow Operetta Theatre. Since 1993, Leo lives in Sydney, Australia. Soon after his arrival, he became popular as a solo performer, a creator of striking virtuoso violin shows and a teacher. He performed as a soloist in the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Town Hall, the Parliament House, on the national TV, in Melbourne and in other Australian cities. Leo released 2 albums: “Golden Dreams” and “Leo’s Violin Magic”.
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Jeanne Alifanova Born and raised in Moscow, Jeanne, an Australian government scholarship winner, came to Australia in 1991 to complete her Master of Commerce (Honours) at UNSW. Now a successful business manager, event coordinator, the vice-president of the Australian Multicultural Arts and Media Association, journalist and radio producer (Russian Radio Australia), Jeanne continues to maintain close ties with the Russian-Jewish community in Australia: “I truly believe it is very important to remember your roots, respect your ancestors and stay close to those who think alike. And this is what Limmud is all about – learning about Jewish history, culture and way of life.” Jeanne is well-known in the community for her outstanding and never-ending volunteering work: “It’s addictive. Once you start helping others you can’t stop. Then again it is always a two-way street – people appreciate even the tiniest assistance and reward you generously with incredible honour and respect. It’s a very humbling experience indeed.” A dedicated art lover, Jeanne sees Limmud FSU as a fantastic opportunity for the ex-USSR Jewish community to showcase its spectacular talents.
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Shahar Alon – An attorney and a member of the Israel and the New York Bar associations. A legal counsel at Checkmarx, an Israeli cyber security company from Tel Aviv. Shahar was also a part of the Economic Mission at the Israel Consulate in New York, and worked at the legal department of the Knesset. Shahar is also a “veteran” Jewish Studies educator. He has worked as a Jewish Studies teacher in schools in Jerusalem, Hong Kong and Caracas. He held various positions in the non-formal education field, working in different Jewish and Zionist organisations aiming to create “bridges”, and connect Jewish children from Israel with Jewish kids and students from different countries. He has a Master’s degree in Jewish Studies, and a Bachelor’s degree in Law. Shahar served at the IDF as a combat medic. In recent years, Shahar is active in various Zionist and social initiatives.

 

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Rivka Pestun Born in FSU, Rivka made aliyah in 1990. She lived and worked in Jerusalem as a lawyer for 12 years. Here in Australia, Rivka is registered as family dispute resolution practitioner for parenting matters for active mediation. Rivka is an Executive Director of the Australian Forum of Russian-Speaking Jewry.
 
 
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Efim Novikov An artist who was born in Russia in 1936. A graduate of the Moscow Art and Industry University, Efim established a successful career as both a designer and a renowned artist. Between 1964 and 1985, Efim participated in many exhibitions in Russia and abroad as an industrial designer. As an inventor Efim holds over 70 patents. Since 1990, he has held many painting and graphic exhibitions in Russia, Hungary, Germany, Tanzania, Greece and Australia. Efim has immigrated to Australia in 1996 where he became well-known as an artist and a teacher. His works have been exhibited in many prestigious art galleries in Sydney and around the world. Efim enjoys passing his passion and skills to his students – children and adults.
 
Anastasia Astridge
Anastasia Astridge Business consultant and media entrepreneur. In 2015, she founded ZM Media, a company that owns and operates ZAGRANMAMA, an online media start-up. This media platform unites, educates and empowers Russian-speaking women around the world. Zagranmama caters foremost to the needs and interests of female expats and immigrants. ZM Media runs networking events, online workshops and conferences.
 
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Ilan Maylis An Israeli Infantry IDF Captain (Reserve), born in Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine). Ilan made aliyah in 1990 at the age of 10 with his family. He dedicated 15 years of his life to serving in the military and working within the defence industry developing technological solutions for the IDF. Since 2014, Ilan lives in Western Australia with his wife and 2 sons.
 

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Avi Bendetsky Avi is the Principal Director of BAS & MORE Bookkeeping Services specialising in financial management, virtual CFO and business growth services. In his session, the Talking Numbers, Avi will show how smart financial practises can help your business grow while focusing on what you do best. Avi is also a strong advocate of social justice and community wellbeing and regularly volunteers for a range of community organisations including Jewish Mutual Loans Company, Jewish Care Victoria and Betar. In addition, he co-founded Tribe and Subbotnik organisations.


 

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Sarah Bendetsky  A Melbourne-based writer, journalist and community activist who moved to Australia from New York, where she moved from Montreal, where she moved from Pittsburgh, where she moved from Moscow. For many years, Sarah has been involved with voluntary work including informal Jewish education and community development. Together with her husband Avi and a group of friends, Sarah started a volunteer-driven organisation Subbotnik. Sarah believes that each person can make the world a better, happier place full of smiles, kindness… and chocolate. In her session, I’ll Take the Window Seat, Sarah will read her lyrical and comical stories about finding your place in a new country, while remembering your past and staying positive.


 

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Michael Kontorovich - was born in the country formerly known as the USSR, in the city formerly known as Leningrad and in the century now known as the previous. He came to Australia 36 years ago and enjoys Vegemite almost as much as beluga caviar (and significantly more often). He is an experienced story teller, a partner of one, father of two and a member of KVN comedy writing team of five. He considers his interests to be always moral, mostly legal and these days rarely fattening.

 

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Yigal Nissel will showcase KKL-JNF’s extensive activities carried out in the name of the Jewish people in the past and present together with its plans for the future. These activities include strengthening peripheral communities, acting as custodian for national land and preserving its beauties, conserving the landscape and nature, improving the environment and raising the public’s level of ecological awareness for the sake of future generations.

 

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Leon Bondar - was born in Odessa, in 1966. Following his studies in St. Petersburg, in 1991 Leon immigrated to USA. There he studied in a Rabbinical Seminary in New York. Since then, he worked for various Kashrut authorities. In 2005, Leon moved to Melbourne. From a young age, Leon has been performing as a singer-songwriter as well as covering popular songs in Russian, Yiddish, English and Hebrew. He participated in concerts/seminars in US, Australia and Ukraine and became the winner of a Ukrainian folk festival. He is an active member of the local Russian singer-songwriter club and the Russian Poets Society. Leon also takes part in the newly established Russian-Jewish functions organised by Subbotnik organisation. Leon’s goal is to bridge the cultural gap between the Russian Jews and the larger Jewish community and culture.

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Maria Elkin - moved to Israel in 1992 at the age of 13. She graduated with a degree in photo and video art from the Bezalel Art Academy and continued up her studies with a degree in TV and Cinema production. In 2003, she started to work as a TVcorrespondent for the Israeli Channel Israel+. Since 2006, Maria became the press attaché for the Knesset. In 2012, she is the Director of Russian Media Communications in the Knesset. She lives in Gush Etzion. Maria is a mother to 5 children.

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Margarita Stein - Margarita says that her biography is simple and rather typical of someone born and raised in USSR who immigrated in her early twenties to Australia. She believes that freedom is very precious and should come with responsibilities as two sides of the same coin. Her favourite quote is, ‘When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the looser,’ by Socrates. Margarita believes that Limmud FSU Festival is very exciting as it represents unlimited possibilities for learning and sharing experiences within the vibrant Russian Jewish community of Australia.