Romania. The Romanian Jewish community carries out lots of work to engage people aged 35-65 - the most passive part of Jewish population - to Jewish life.
Paul Shwartz, the program coordinator, says that for the moment this age group numbers about 2,500 people. "If we manage to engage at least some of these people to Jewish life, the community will survive", - he added.
The situation in the Romanian Jewish community is really unique. All Jewish leaders around the world try to engage youth. In Romania the most part of youth will, most probably, emigrate, thus creating a so-called vacuum.
Slovakia. The construction of the monument to the outstanding sage Khatam Sofer in Bratislava was stopped after the main project sponsor refused to allot the promised funds.
The memorial construction began last May according to the agreement between the Bratislava city administration, the Jewish community, and the Khatam Sofer American Committee.
The city authorities spent $750 thousand to move the trolley-bus route that went over the mausoleum. In its turn, the Committee agreed to spend the same amount for construction of the monument and surrounding buildings.
Piter Salner, leader of the Bratislava Jewish community, says that he hopes the construction will be renewed as soon as possible.
"All depends on when we receive the money", - he says.
Poland. Teodor Shchekhinsky, who was a security guard in Nazi death camps, lost his USA citizenship and will be deported from the country in the nearest future. The former Nazi was born in Poland in the town of Malnov. He called himself a Ukrainian during the naturalization process in the USA in 1958. Poland will hardly agree to accept a former SS soldier.
Bosnia. The restoration of the 600 year old hand-written Agada from Saraevo has been finished. Yakob Finchi, President of the Bosnia Jewish community, in his interview to the JTA agency informed that the several year-long restoration work of one of the most ancient and famous Jewish manuscripts was finally finished. A special room in the National Saraevo Museum is being prepared for the invaluable manuscript. The UNO was the sponsor of the restoration project. The Bosnia mission allotted $50 thousand for the museum renewal. A special room will be equipped for the Agada. Andrea Pataki from the Austrian Academy of Fine Arts was the main restorer. She has a big experience of work with Jewish books in Israel and the USA, and is considered to be one of the best restorers in the world.
Jerusalem. The international conference "Jewish Nationalism in the Age of Changes: Russian-speaking Jewry in the Modern World" was attended by 160 teachers of Hebrew, Jewish history and traditions from the CIS countries, and more than 100 Israelis - public figures, writers, and rabbis.
Yuliy Edelstein, Deputy Minister of Absorption, opened the conference and underlined the necessity of national identification of Jews. In his opinion, all statements about the absence of national identification of the USSR Jews are groundless. It's quite another matter that under Soviet conditions the identification was non-religious, as in the majority of world communities.
"People, who looked for Jewish surnames among nominees of the Lenin Prize, undoubtedly had this identification. And this was what the majority of Soviet Jews did", - Edelstein said.
Edelstein is against amending the Law on Return, but, at the same time, considers it necessary to stop the large-scale campaigns on aliah stimulation in the CIS countries, which sharply reduced the percentage of Jews among repatriates.
Moscow. Gennadiy Khasanov combined his birthday party with Hanukkah. He sent out 300 invitations, asking to donate the money, which was intended to be spent for presents, for synagogue reconstruction. Khasanov received his guests in the "Prague" restaurant, owned by his friend Telman Ismailov. Gennadiy was visited, in particular, by Anatoliy Sobchak's widow Ludmila Narusova, lawyer Genry Reznik, businessman Shabtay Kalmanovich. Rabbis of Moscow synagogues were received with special honor. One of them presented Khasanov a kipah, embroidered with gold and precious stones. Khasanov was entrusted to light the Hanukkah candles.
Yosif Kobson with his spouse did not come for the party, and their table was taken by Yuriy Bashmet, who came to congratulate Gennadiy at 3 o'clock in the morning. The guests were entertained by a Jewish chamber choir, children's groups of Moscow synagogues, and young actors of the Variety Theatre. The totals of the evening were amazing: Khasanov's guests donated $420 thousand for the synagogue reconstruction! The amount could have possibly been bigger if not for Khasanov's joke told when the celebration wwas in full swing. He said that all the information about the donations would be sent to tax department in order to deduct the contributions from the taxable income.