In my childhood bedroom, in Glasgow, there was a poster on the wall bearing an image of the Kremlin and the words “Let My People Go.” Like many other Jews growing up in the 1980s, I felt the profound impact of the Soviet Jewry movement. So I was a bit surprised by my own ambivalence when I recently decided to go on a UJA-Federation rabbinic mission to the former Soviet Union (FSU) to see what Jewish life is like there today.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who responded to the bombing at Moscow's busiest airport described a "horrifying scene."
In an e-mail to JTA, Rabbi Sheah Deitsch, one of a group of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who are first responders on behalf of the Moscow Chief Rabbinate, said that "families were screaming and wailing."
"They asked to speak to the Jewish rabbis, and we tried to uplift their spirits and told them that we were there for them for whatever they needed," he wrote.
Now that the Russian government permits the practice of religion, I often wonder what is happening to the Jews of Russia. This past May I found out. I spent the month in Moscow teaching Talmud at the Moscow State University for the Humanities.