Special Passover Edition * Tomsk, Siberia, 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.

Tomsk, Siberia, Russia

The preparations for Passover begin months before it arrives. Rabbi Levi Kaminetzky from Tomsk, Siberia, Russia places his large order of Matzah at the beginning of winter. “It is of utmost importance to us that every Jew in our city will have matzah for Passover,” he said. As the holiday approaches, the city buzzes with excited activity.

Elderly members of the community, as well as families with children, will each get a box of matzah. The students that are part of the EuroStars program visit housebound elderly and sick people in their homes, bringing the warm feelings of community, connection and holiday joy along with their matzah and wine delivery.

The large communal Seder in the middle of Siberia will be packed with over 300 people. Families will come together with grandparents, aunts and cousins, sitting at a family table amongst community members. Students from the EuroStars program will sit together, sharing deep thoughts about the traditional Seder that are both timeless and relevant to their day to day lives.

Children will stand on their chairs, wearing brand new holiday clothing, and sing the words to ‘Mah Nishtanah’, bringing tears to the eyes of their grandparents who remember these words from their youth as well as many sitting there who are hearing these words for the first time.

Passover is a holiday where every home is open and welcoming to the less fortunate. The leaders of the community in Tomsk are making a huge effort to reach every Jew in their city this Passover.

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