MOSCOW (JTA) – As the capital of Kyrgyzstan erupted in violence Wednesday, members of the Central Asian nation’s small Jewish community held their breath and sat tight.
The ORT school in the capital, Bishkek, shuttered its doors, sending students home just as they were returning from their Passover break. With public transportation suspended and the city in disarray, only three people made it to morning services at the local synagogue. Meanwhile, Jewish community leaders exchanged frantic phone calls, updating each other about the situation on the street.
Three days before Passover, Eytan Meyersdorf, a 20-year-old American oleh and soldier in a unit of the Israel Defense Force’s elite Golani Brigade, was told by an officer to pack a bag, leave his post near the Gaza Strip and head to Jerusalem.
(JTA) — A Vatican official apologized for comparing criticism directed at the Catholic Church over a widespread pedophilia scandal to anti-Semitic attacks on Jews.
“If — and it was not my intention to do so — I hurt the sensitivities of Jews and victims of pedophilia, I am truly sorry and I ask for forgiveness,” the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, said in an interview published Sunday in the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
I worry that with each passing year in this country, Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is quietly and gradually becoming obsolete.
You don’t need an actuary to know that the number of survivors of the Holocaust, which took place between 65 and 71 years ago, is declining rapidly, and thus the authentic voices of those who lived through the horrors are diminished every day.
A Passover seder on the Baltic is a rare chance for isolated Jews to celebrate together.
Gdansk, Poland – Marianna Grochola left her home at 11:30 a.m. last Monday for a 6:45 p.m. seder.
A widow and retired accountant, a child survivor of the Holocaust who grew up in communist Poland, Grochola took a bus to her railroad station in Slupsk, a small town 120 miles west of Gdansk. Then she took a slow train north, then walked a few miles from the main railroad station here to the city’s sole extant synagogue, the site of the first-night seder.
On this, the Shabbos of the Song of Songs, take a look "A Page From The Song of Songs" by Sholom Aleichem. It is sometimes painted as a "children's story" but in reality it is the first of four stories -- taking place on a Pesach, a Shavuous, and a Pesach and Shevuous many years later -- culminating in an excrutiating romantic misunderstanding between two young adults that can break the hearts of old men and women long past their childhoods.
Monday night we attended a very informal seder in the neighborhood in which most of the families were intermarried and/or the children of intermarriage. I was impressed with the Haggadah, “The 30-Minute Seder,” which cleverly packs in all the key seder components, including the third and fourth cups and opening the door for Elijah, BEFORE the meal.
Some thoughts on the widespread use of the theme of enslavement and redemption as a metaphor for all struggles of national liberation.
Rabbi Gerald Skolnik
Special to the Jewish Week
The Passover Seders that my family has hosted for the past thirty-plus years are radically different from the ones I grew up with. In my parents' home, those attending a Seder were most often family, or occasionally a close friend of my sister's or mine. But in the relatively sheltered world of my youth, having non-Jews at the Seder, as guests, would not have been a serious option.