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Special to JTA No Future for Maltese Jews

The head of the Maltese Jewish community, Sidney Berger, today expressed anxiety that “there is no future left for Malta’s Jews. The community will die and disappear in a not too distant future.” Berger told this correspondent who is currently visiting the island where the government of Dom Mintoff is at cross ends with Britain, that in spite of the fact that the community has increased during the last 15 years from nine Jewish families to 40 “we seem doomed as there are absolutely no young people among us.”

Practically all the 40 Jewish families living in Malta are elderly Jewish couples mainly of British origin who have retired on the island. Many of these will also probably leave Malta should the current negotiations with Britain fail to resolve the differences. The community has a small synagogue which is located in an area due to be razed for town planning purposes. Berger has drawn up plans and has secured most of the money necessary to build in two years time a new synagogue in the island capital of Valetta.

Besides an occasional minyan for the High Holidays there is practically no Jewish life or activities on the island and no Zionist programs. One of the last remembered Jewish activities was a luncheon given last year by the community to the first Israeli Ambassador to Malta, Yitzhak Ben Yaakov. For the High Holidays the synagogue secures a rabbi from London and kosher meat is flown in once a week from Rome for the several families who maintain kashrut. There has been no immigration whatsoever to Israel from Malta and only a handful of its inhabitants have visited the country or plan to do so.

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