Special Passover Edition * Minsk, Belarus

The FSU goes all out for the Holiday of Freedom

In over 110 major cities and approximately 500 villages and towns across Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and seven additional countries in the former Soviet Union, the approach of Passover is creating great excitement. Preparations are underway for this major Jewish holiday celebrating freedom and liberty. A tremendous amount of Matzah and wine is being distributed to families, the elderly, the sick and lonely and to any Jew within reach. The great effort pays off when a region of the world that so recently emerged from the darkness of the Soviet Regime and is currently undergoing an economic crisis celebrates freedom and unity with joy and happiness. Please join us as we take a sneak peek at the preparations for Passover in several cities across the region.

Minsk, Belarus

Rabbi Shneur Deutsch, Rabbi of Minsk, Belarus, is not satisfied with making Passover only for his own community, “we send Passover products and representatives to lead Passover Seders in the small towns around Minsk such as Rechytsa, Gomel, Orsha, Barysaw and Mazyr.” These are towns where there are Jews but no organized Jewish community or leadership.

Within Minsk, Passover is a time for great celebration. There is a pre-Passover program filled with fun and educational activities for children. More than 120 children will attend. They will bake matzahs and learn about the holiday in a stimulating and interactive way. While the children are learning and exploring, there will be workshops for their parents as well. The parents, most of whom have grown up without much exposure to their Jewish roots and traditions, learn how to prepare for Passover and conduct a Seder.

When Passover arrives, there will be three communal Seders for around 400 people. The first Seder will be geared towards children, the second towards adults and the third towards families, giving each age group a chance to have a wholesome Passover experience.

In addition to the programming, the community has invited thousands of Jews to come and collect boxes of matzah from the synagogue where it is being distributed.

When Friday evening, April 19, comes along, many thousands of Jews throughout the FSU will be decked out in their holiday finery, children will be wearing their new clothes that have been given to them through the FJC. They will be sitting together with their communities and families biting into the crispy matzah. As the seder draws to a close, the voices will echo throughout the FSU, reciting the age-old adage of the longing of the Jewish nation to return to their homeland, “Next year in Jerusalem!”


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