The fall Jewish holidays that drew to a close recently, brought thousands of FSU Jews together for proud celebrations across the FJC communities. Countless activities for people of all ages in different formats and locations that took place left no one behind.
“Never before have we had so many people who wanted to be involved in our activities, proudly identified with their heritage and recognized Jewish tradition as an essential part of who they are,” said Mr. Daniel Gordon, FJC coordinator.
Even smaller communities in remote villages in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia had special events for the holidays organized by rabbis visiting from larger cities, such as the Angarsk region – located deep in Siberia, that had the Irkutsk rabbi and the regional governor come for a community celebration. Similar events were held in small towns across Ukraine, which has considerable Jewish population scattered in villages across thousands of kilometers of land.
As for larger cities, there the variation of events was innumerable: activities in FJC’s Jewish ‘Or Avner’ schools and kindergartens; programs in informal education projects such as JFuture and SmartJ; special events at social projects, such as EnerJew and EuroStars; community music festivals and traditional holiday celebrations; gatherings in the Sukkah and dancing with the Torah Scrolls on Simchat Torah.
“It was with special joy that our community celebrated Simchat Torah, a special holiday for the Jews of the former Soviet Union, where even during Communist rule all fear and shame seemed to step back and groups of Jews, dancing and singing would spill out into the streets against all odds. So much happier are we now, that we are free to celebrate, to show our pride and trust into the Ruler of the Universe,” said Rabbi Shmuel Kot, Chief Rabbi of Estonia.
Now, after such a fruitful holiday season, the communities are hoping to begin a successful and productive new year full of learning and community support.