Eastern Europe

Mixed Record On Return Of Property

04/30/2008
Staff Writer
Lublin, Poland — On the first two nights of Passover, the ground floor of a former medical academy near Lublin’s historic Old City was crowded by early evening with members of the Jewish community. Children played for hours in the hallways while senior citizens schmoozed in a small office. After sundown, joined by other members of the community and a Jewish choir from Warsaw, they filed into a social hall for the seders; afterward, they stayed to play and shmooze some more.

Who'd A Dunk It?

01/05/2006
Staff Writer
The Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who brought their ethnic fare to the United States in the late 19th century probably couldn't foresee salsa bagels or reduced carb bagels. They also couldn't predict that a doughnut manufacturer would become the world's No. 1 bagel maker. It's happened. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Dunkin' Donuts, which bills itself as "the largest coffee and baked goods chain in the world," is now the largest bagel retailer in the world.

Schumer Urges Repairs To Jewish Cemeteries

08/04/2006
Staff Writer
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a letter sent last week to Romanian President Traian Basescu urged Romania to restore and protect the country’s Jewish cemeteries, which fell into disrepair during the communist era. “Cemeteries are an important issue to worldwide Jewry, and Jewish cemeteries are no exception,” Schumer wrote. “For many Jews in the United States these cemeteries are the last link to their ancestry.”

Back To Bucharest

04/13/2007
Staff Writer
Like most members of his generation, who grew up in communist Eastern Europe during the last years of communism, Sorin Rosen had no Jewish education or upbringing. “Nothing at all,” he says. Like many Jews from former Iron Curtain countries who belatedly discovered their Jewish roots, Rosen became interested as a teen in learning what he had not as a child. After visiting some distant relatives in Israel, he became active in several Jewish organizations in Bucharest, his Romanian hometown. Like some, he drifted toward religious observance.

To World, Kollek Was Jerusalem

01/05/2007
Staff Writer
Jerusalem — A visitor handed Teddy Kollek a book to autograph several years ago. Kollek, sitting behind his desk in the office of The Jerusalem Foundation, where he worked as international chairman after losing a race for re-election as the city’s mayor in 1993, looked at the cover — the book, distributed by the foundation, was a collection of writings and photographs from his career. “Where did you get this?” Kollek asked.An assistant said she had given it to the visitor.

Remembering Marek Edelman

10/09/2009
Staff Writer
The best advice I ever received about a forthcoming interview concerned a septuagenarian cardiologist in Warsaw. I was about to interview Dr. Marek Edelman, the last-surviving commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in 1993 for a series of stories commemorating the event’s 50th anniversary. A Polish Jew who knew him told me what to expect: Dr. Edelman would give me some time, but if he felt bored he’d probably walk away without warning.

A Mountain To Climb

03/01/2002
Staff Writer
She packed her skis, as usual. She packed her poles, as usual. She packed her bindings, as usual. Dr. Ruth Spector, an avid skier, was hitting the slopes last week. She also packed her helmet, not as usual. You don’t risk injury when you have leukemia. “I never wear a helmet,” says Spector, a 41-year-old anesthesiologist who lives in Lake Success, L.I.

New WJC Exec: Lauder To Head Restitution Effort

08/24/2007
Staff Writer
The new top leadership team of the embattled World Jewish Congress will head to Eastern Europe soon to re-energize stalled negotiations over Holocaust-era restitution payments, Michael Schneider, the group’s next secretary general, said this week. The political discussions will represent a return by the WJC, perceived as rudderless in recent years, to the activity that cemented its reputation as a representative of Jewish interests.

WJC Hot Seat For JDC Vet?

08/17/2007
Staff Writer
In the late 1970s the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the New York-based organization that supports Jewish life in small communities around the world, needed someone to head its office in Tehran. Two JDC staffers told Ralph Goldman, the Joint’s executive vice president, that he should consider Michael Schneider, a social worker in London. After a four-hour interview with Schneider, a native of South Africa who left his homeland to escape arrest for anti-apartheid activities, Goldman offered him the job in Iran.
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