Russia. A congress of Russian speaking Jewish communities took place in Moscow on December 18-20. The congress resulted in signing a declaration on intentions of creating an international Jewish organization - the World Congress of Russian Jewry. The organization's main goal will be information exchange, cultural, educational, and religious programs in Russian-speaking Jewish communities of the world, as well as political support from communities of the USA and Russia to Israel in the war against terrorism.
The constituent congress is planned for next May.
Moldova. The leaders of the Moldova Jewish community established an anti-missionary organization "Liga Magen". It was created at the constituent congress that took place in Kishinev in the second decade of December after similar organizations were created in Russia and Ukraine.
Russia. 64% of Russians are to a certain extent worried about the aggravation of the situation in the Middle East. Every fifth country citizen (21%) does not care about it. At the same time, 12% of the population do not know anything about the aggravation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. This was the data received from the public opinion poll carried out by the "Public Opinion" Fund.
42% of the respondents think that both sides are equally to blame for the conflict aggravation. In the opinion of 10%, the aggravation was caused by Israel. The same number of respondents laid the responsibility on Palestine.
Russia. The Ufim Jewish community gave 200 needy families of the Ordzhonikidzevsky city district food sets 15 kg each for Christmas. This isn't the first time the Jewish community helps the needy. The community pays special attention to families with many children and children-orphans.
Russia. Yasir Arafat thanked the left-wing factions of the Russian State Duma - the Communist Party and the Agroindustrial Group - for the condemnation of the "wide-range Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and its leaders". The named factions sent this document to Yasir Arafat in late December.
Russia. The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation decided to allot funds for building the Birobidzhan synagogue. This decision was made as part of the program for religious confessions support.
As Sergey Shtogrin, Deputy of the State Duma from JAO, said, the state will allot about 3,5 million rubles for this purpose. In addition, Sergey Shtogrin also promised to attract for this purpose the funds of prominent Russian businessmen.
Russia. Until now Jews of Tver did not have their own synagogue. They had one only before the revolution. The former synagogue building was used as a militia department, but recently it was returned to the community. The building needs thorough repairs, and the members of the Tver Jewish community are planning to start the repairs soon. The synagogue will start its work after the renewal is finished. Meanwhile Tver Jews are cleaning the premises and putting them in order. A rabbi has been already invited. He is a Muscovite and from time to time comes to Tver. Later he will work on a permanent basis.
Russia. The first Sunday school for adults beyond the Urals was opened in the Novosibirsk Jewish community of traditional Judaism. Rabbi Itshak Berezin, who came from Israel, reads and comments on the Torah Week Chapter at school lessons. The school students are offered lectures on history of Israel and European Jewry. Fates of historic personalities and Judaism pillars attract special interest. "This Sunday school was planned for, mainly, aged people, - said Boris Blam, the community leader. - But, as it turned out, youth came too".
Russia. The Jewish family of Murzakhanov from Groznyy went through many troubles during the war in Chechnya. Mistakes of the government registration office for a few months delayed the process of receiving foreign passports for repatriation to Israel. A visit to the consul in Pyatigorsk was out of question. Luckily, the "Sokhnut" coordinator from Mozdok and their neighbors-Ossetins Aslan Tskoev and Alan Bedayev helped the family, which lived in a dilapidated house without light and heat. With great complications they managed to take the family from Groznyy to Pyatigorsk and helped them to get the visa.
Now the Murzakhanovs live in Israel and remember their rescuers with gratitude.
Russia. The renewed Omsk synagogue celebrated its 10th anniversary. Its full history is almost a century long. In Soviet times the two-storey building on Zhukov Street, 53, was given to the House of Health Education. In the early 1990s the Omsk Jewish community "Or Khadash" returned to the synagogue.
In 1994 the building was almost totally destroyed by a fire. But with the support of oblast authorities, "Joint", and local sponsors the synagogue was brought to life again. In two years Aron-Kodesh with Torah scrolls appeared in the synagogue. On the eve of the anniversary celebrations the community got its rabbi - Asher Krichevsky - who came from Israel.