Meet the team

Anatol Romanov

Anatol was born and raised in Moscow, he moved to Sydney in 1992 at the age of 31. Like many other Jews from the Soviet Union, he knew very little about the Jewish way of life, but feeling passionate about the community, he started weekly gatherings of newly arrived Russian speakers, mostly Jews, with the main goal of helping each other through the first most difficult months of settlement in the new country. It was the times when the Internet was still in its infancy and social media didn’t exist. Through the word of mouth and with backing of Jewish Community Services, the so-called “Romanovs’ Club” quickly became a place every new Russian-speaking Jewish immigrant must check. Hundreds of people received a warm welcome, psychological and practical help at the Club, which Anatol and his wife Faina ran for almost five years. When Limmud FSU came to Sydney in 2016 Anatol and Faina enthusiastically joined a team of Kangarusski volunteers, helping with many little jobs underpinning a success of this large and important community event. Two things lying at the heart of the Limmud movement stand high in Anatol’s system of values: community and learning. Always learning himself, he complimented his Applied Mathematics and Computer Science degree with a master of Applied Finance. Inspired by the talent and strength of the Russian-speaking Jewish community, demonstrated at the Limmud FSU Australia conference in 2016, Anatol came up with the initiative to create a non-profit association, which would help the community to grow and learn faster. Russian-speaking Jewish Community Association Inc (RJA) was created with strong support of Kangarusski volunteers at the end of 2017. Anatol has been RJA President since inception.

Rina Binder-Kuczko

Rina is an Events Manager with over 10 years’ experience. She is Head of Events at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, NSW, managing over 70 events a year. Rina attended the first Jewish school that opened in USSR during Perestroika in Riga, Latvia. Rina believes it was the best decision her parents made, because her experiences there helped shape who she is today, and the friends she made are irreplaceable. In 1996, Rina immigrated to Sydney, Australia, with only a few relatives, no English and no friends. It wasn’t easy and took her and her family a long time to make friends and settle in to their new Australian way of life. “I will do everything I can to help Limmud FSU be successful. I want my kids to experience the happy memories I have from my school years in Riga. Something like Limmud FSU has been missing from our lives for a long time, and I’m really excited to be a part of it and help it - and our community - grow and develop.”  

Anna Maylis

Anna was born in Ukraine in 1973, made aliya at 17, and moved to Sydney 22 years ago. Anna has been working as a Hebrew teacher for 20 years, as well as the founder and the Director of the Kids Theatre – “JeSTAR”. In 2015, she became an event coordinator for the Russian-speaking Jewish community in Sydney. This year Anna is passionately involved in organising the Limmud FSU festival. She believes that Limmud FSU is an exciting and unique opportunity for the Sydney community to meet amazing local and international presenters, learn from world known intellectuals and professionals and bring the community together.

Evgene Kless

Evgene was born in Ukraine, made aliya at the age of 12 and moved to Sydney 12 years ago – with a two year stop over at Sweden. 

Evgene is Limmud FSU Chief Technology Officer.  He has about two decades of world-wide experience in multinational telecommunication companies. He is a technology visionary during business hours and a “gadget guy” at all other times.

Evgene has plagiarised Hillel Elder’s motto of “If not me, who? If not now, when?” That got him involved in many community projects.

Limmud FSU is a unique event where families and friends come together for a day of learning which could inspire a lifetime of change.

Kira Kless

Born in Uzbekistan, Kira has called Sydney home for almost a quarter of a century.

Kira is a solicitor with over 16 years of experience in public law. Kira views volunteering as a unique, rewarding opportunity to contribute to her community and to shape the community in which her children are growing up.

Two years ago Kira with family attended Limmud FSU for the first time. They loved being immersed in an atmosphere of community, learning, culture and fun.

Kira is in charge of the Kids Limmud FSU Program – that came as a natural progression to many things that Kira does with kids and for kids.

Stella Dvuchbabny

Stella was born in Ukraine, lived in Israel for 16 years, and moved to Australia in 2006 with her family.

Stella is a nurse at Sutherland hospital, and lives in St.George NSW where nearly no Jewish community is present. To fulfill her need of communication and to get a feeling of belonging to the community, she started participating in different projects. Stella became a member of the Sydney Jewish Museum and recently became a guide in the museum.

Stella believes that Limmud is an amazing opportunity to come together, meet interesting people, learn, relax and have a lot of fun. Last year her teenage children participated in Limmud Fest and now her whole family is looking forward to Limmud FSU. See you there!

Inna Polura

Since February 2016, when I was first introduced to the Limmud FSU world, my life has charged. Meeting young, talented, motivated and multiskilled people with different backgrounds, different occupations, different areas of expertise would not be possible without Limmud. We did our first big event 2 years ago and since that time we have never stopped seeing each other, planned many other events and Jewish festivals. Many more wonderful people joined us and contributed to the high level of the activities we organise for our community. I'm so glad to see how young families with children participate in our events. So, the main idea of being part of the Limmud organising committee is bringing together our Russian speaking community and keeping our traditions, learning and having fun together. I am looking forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces along with new people joining Limmud FSU Festival this year.

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 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.  

Mila Rodov

Mila Rodov of Mila's Catering is Sydney's premier Kosher caterer. She has fed the Jewish community for 8 years prior to which she enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a restauranteur. Her delicious Eastern European cuisine is made with heart and soul. She migrated to Australia in 1989 from the Former Soviet Union, and has 2 children and 4 grandchildren.

Mila has been involved with Limmud and Kangarusski for a few years and it brings her so much happiness to be part of this wonderful initiative, working with beautiful people for a wonderful cause.

Natalya Mendelevich

Natalya has volunteered in several community projects, organised by Kangarusski and RJA. She joined Limmud FSU team to help building more of a community channel, to volunteer and to be involved in strengthening the connection between our community to the wider Jewry in Australia’ She also attends lectures, supports Jewish events, loves to read, go to musicals, concerts and opera and watch foreign films. ‘Our highest value is learning, there is no greater Mitzvah than learning. Limmud FSU Australia will showcase our talents, achievements, values, strength and commitment to Jewish unity.’