The first Estonian Jewish Forum “Jahad” (which means “Together” in Hebrew) took place on 19–21 October 2007 in Laulasmaa Spa and gathered around 200 participants. Every following year, both the programme of the Forum and the number of its participants have been expanding.
The 7th “Jahad” was held in 2013, having attracted approximately five hundred participants and many well-known lecturers from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Russia and Israel.
Topics. In the course of the event, its participants had an opportunity to learn about the Jewish Community of Estonia and its activities nowadays. The varied programme provides interesting but sometimes difficult choices: each participant can choose one of the event simultaneously going on in different lecture halls. The range of subjects is impressive: Judaism, Jewish traditions, a Jewish life cycle, culture, history, education, literature, psychology, politics, cuisine, sport and many others. There are over 50 events in the form of lectures, concerts, meet-the-artist sessions, screenings of films by Jewish and Israeli authors, Jewish dances, excursions, discussions … you name it.
While parents attend courses, teachers and madrichim make sure that children of various ages are busy in educational and entertainment classes.
Guests. The Forum opens on Friday night with festive Shabbat dinner, for which all the guests gather in a large hall at beautifully lain round tables and celebrate the beginning of Shabbat together. Every year, the Community has the honour to host distinguished guests at the Forum. Over the years, the Forum has seen numerous famous figures as guests of honour: Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress; Urmas Paet, Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs; Laine Jänes, Estonian Minister of Culture; Urve Palo, Estonian Minister of Population and Ethnic Affairs; Jüri Ratas, Deputy Speaker of the Riigikogu (Estonian parliament); Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Edgar Savisaar, Mayor of Tallinn; and representatives of diplomatic missions and non-governmental organisations.
Concerts. On Saturday evening, we gather again for the show of a specially invited performer. So far, the Forum featured performances by Semen Altov, Viktor Shenderovich, Eri Klas, Arkadi Inin, Roman Kartsev, Leonid Mlechin, and Boris Burda.
Lecturers. Dozens of people have shared their knowledge, skills and works of art with the participants over the years. Among them, there have been the following famous, talented, knowledgeable, amazing and fascinating speakers: Naftoly Bassel (Estonia), Rein Veidman (Estonia), Joseph Zissels (Ukraine), Rabbi Isroel Eizensharf and Rabbenit Inna Eizensharf (Latvia), Avi Granot (Israel), Marc Dubovskiy (Latvia), Eduard Tinn (Estonia), Josef Katz (Estonia), Kalle Kasemaa (Estonia), Angelika Lensment (Estonia), Aviva Millstone (Canada), Uri Zer (Israel), Aleksei Turovski (Estonia), Mark Rybak (Estonia / Israel), Elhonen Saks (Estonia), Andres Spokoyny (France), Timur Fishel (Estonia), Victor Heifetz (Russia), Lazarus Heifetz (Russia), Svetlana Kaputerko (Estonia), Samuel Rubinstein (Estonia), Adik Levin (Estonia), Hanon Barabaner (Estonia), Boris Tuh (Estonia), Elena Skulskaja (Estonia), Arthur Klempert (Russia), Gita Umanovska (Latvia), Semjon Parizhsky (Russia), Dana Pulver (Israel), Juzef Luvischuk (Estonia), Mark Levin (Estonia), Sergei Serbin and Mihail Gusev (Estonia), Sofa Blucher (Estonia), Ella Agranovskaya (Estonia), Igor Talis (Estonia), Rabbi Zeev Dashevskii (Israel), Alexander Astrov (Hungary), Leivi Sher (Estonia), Igor Rosenfeld (Estonia), Rabbi Leonid Bimbat (Russia ), Reuven Kippervasser (Israel), cantor Dmitry Karpenko (Russia), Hagi Shein (Estonia) and many others.
The organising team does not intend to rest on its laurels and has shamelessly ambitious plans for the future.
Make sure you do not miss this major annual event of the Jewish Community of Estonia, and you will not regret taking part in it! Watch for updates!