Special Passover Edition * Petersburg, Russia

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.

Petersburg, Russia

Jews in Petersburg, Russia gather together to learn the laws of the Passover holiday. They study the timeless Passover Haggadah which tells the story of the Jewish nation’s exile in Egypt and their miraculous rescue. Many of those gathered clearly remember their own personal Egypt, when their home city of Petersburg was known as Leningrad and was the seat of the cruel and suffocating Soviet leadership.

Today in Petersburg, Jewish revival is at its best. Thousands of Jews are joining communal Seders and thousands of kilo’s of matzah are being distributed to the elderly and needy.

The local kosher market is stocked up with kosher for Passover products, making the observance of Passover more accessible to local Jews. Children in elementary schools are preparing for the Seder by learning the songs, stories and traditions at model seders. Several members of the community are taking part in the effort of preparing the synagogue for the holiday by cleaning it thoroughly, removing any traces of bread, which is not permitted over the holiday.

Looking at this city now, one would never guess that approximately 30 years ago there was no trace of Jewish life, for it had been obliterated by the Soviets. This is a testament to the perseverance of the Jewish people, no matter how hard they try, the nations of the world cannot crush their faith and pride.

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