Polish president, victim of plane crash in Russia,
had close ties to the Jewish community.
Rabbi Michael Schudrich
Special to The Jewish Week
Note: The Polish people suffered a loss when President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 other passengers on a Russian jet, including many top Polish officials, were killed in a crash Saturday near Smolensk, Russia. Jewish leaders in Poland praised Kaczynski, 60, as a true friend of the Jewish community and Israel, and participants in the annual March of the Living wore black armbands this week in the president’s memory.
As the Orange Revolution plays out in the streets of Kiev, half a world away in Brooklyn, Jewish emigres from Ukraine are reflecting the same split regarding that country’s ongoing political crisis as their countrymen back home.
Those from Kiev and the western part of the country generally favor the pro-Western Viktor Yuschenko for president, while those from the east and south back the pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.
A number of renowned former dissidents and prisoners of conscience from the former Soviet Union believe that President Bush is betraying the cause of democracy by claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin as an ally in the war against terrorism.
Leaders of the fractious Jewish community in Russia are taking opposing positions on whether a vote last week by the lower house of Russia’s parliament to condemn an overtly anti-Semitic statement signed by 19 of its members amounts to progress in the fight against anti-Jewish bigotry.Yet four major Jewish leaders — Chief Rabbis Berel Lazar and Adolf Shayevich; Vladimir Slutsker, president of the Russian Jewish Congress; and Mikhail Chlenov, secretary general of the Eurasian Jewish Congress — agreed in separate phone interviews that the recent upsurge of anti-Semitis
Ever since billionaire diamond and real estate magnate Lev Leviev began to raise his profile and personalize his brand with the opening of deluxe diamond shops in London in 2006 and here in 2007, the 51-year-old Uzbekistan-born tycoon has run into a sustained string of bad news and adverse publicity. Even a hagiographic profile in The New York Times Magazine last September — in which he revealed a secret desire to become prime minister of Israel within 10 years — seems not to have helped.
Has a Russian-language newspaper in America known for its assertive stand for a Russian-American Jewish community independent of influence back home fallen under the sway of Moscow?Some in the Russian-speaking world are asking this question six weeks after the Russian Forward, the well-regarded weekly newspaper, was sold to local businessmen and Jewish organizational leaders known collectively as the Mitzvah Media Group.While the founders of Mitzvah Media — Dr. Igor Branovan, Dr.