Pilgrims leave Uman amid reports of heavy damage to property

(JTA) — Thousands of Jewish pilgrims are leaving Ukraine, where their weeklong stay in Uman resulted in a fire, power shortages, a sewage flood and several arrests. In one incident, three Israeli police officers who were sent to Uman to help police the estimated 26,000 Jewish pilgrims who congregate every year ahead of the Jewish New […]

Russian gay rights leader takes hit for anti-Semitic tweets

(JTA) — One of Russia’s most prominent gay rights activists made anti-Semitic statements on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. The tweets appeared last week on Nikolai Alexeyev’s account in connection with an article about him in OUT Magazine. Alexeyev re-tweeted comments calling the author of the article, Michael Lucas, a “Jewish pig” and “Israeli monkey,” […]

Ukraine plans to reopen old airport for Uman pilgrims

(JTA) — Ukraine is planning to open a decommissioned airport near Uman for Jewish pilgrims. The airport of Cherkasy Oblast, the central Ukrainian district where Uman is located, may be reopened as soon as next year, spokesperson Nicholas Sukhovoj told the Israeli Russian-language newspaper Vesti. The move would help alleviate traffic from the Odessa-Kiev highway that […]

Jewish shtetl in Azerbaijan survives amidst Muslim majority

(JTA) — Even at 70, Yedidia Yehuda can negotiate a narrow mountain path in northern Azerbaijan with a confidence easily mistaken for carelessness. “You take care not to fall yourself and don’t worry about me,” he tells a visitor following him toward a small town on the northern bank of the Kudyal river, where 2,000 […]

St. Petersburg Shul to get $300,000 Makeover

(JTA) — Russia’s largest synagogue announced plans for a $300,000 facelift. The Grand Choral Synagogue in St. Petersburg issued a tender Wednesday for interior renovations of the 155-foot tall hall, the Russian news site fontanka.ru reported. The tender states that the works should be completed in 40 to 54 days and should cost about 10 million […]

Largest Jewish Community Center to Open in Siberia

JTA – An open-air concert by Israeli musicians will be featured at the opening ceremony of what is being called the largest Jewish community center in Siberia, Russia. Hundreds are expected to attend Wednesday’s opening in Novosibirsk of the Beit Machem Center. According to Rabbi Zalman Zaklas, the city’s chief rabbi and emissary for the Chabad-Lubavitch […]

The Extremism and Xenophobia of Ukraine’s Svoboda (Freedom) Party

by Leonid Stonov, International Director August 2013 More than half a year has passed since the nationalist, right-wing, extremist party “Svoboda” (“Freedom”) became one of the main Ukrainian parties that crossed the parliamentary barrier and had a representative in a high position – vice-speaker of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament). What has happened to Ukraine? […]

Cross Defaced Opposite Grave of Rabbi Nachman in Uman, Ukraine

(JTA) — A cross near the gravesite of a Jewish sage in Uman, Ukraine, was defaced with a Hebrew inscription. Hebrew graffiti was discovered Aug. 12 on a cross opposite the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the 18th century founder of the Breslov hasidic movement, the Ukrainian news site allday.in.ua reported “To exact vengeance on the […]

Russian Human Rights Council Reviewing Jewish Teacher’s Sentence

Ilya Farber, a Jewish schoolteacher, recently was sentenced to seven years in labor camp and fined a large sum after being convicted of corruption. Many believe his trial was unfair and that he was persecuted for his Jewish background. The prosecutor in Farber’s initial trial said to the jury “Is it possible for a person […]