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Israeli Diplomats Attend Rosh Hashanah Services in Warsaw

The first Israelis of diplomatic rank posted to Warsaw in nearly 20 years attended Rosh Hashanah services there over the weekend, to the delight of the local Jewish community, according to a report from the Polish capital published in Davar Monday.

The diplomats, Alex Ben-Zvi and David Koren, will head the Israeli interests office to be opened in Warsaw shortly. They and their families were applauded by about 130 other worshippers attending the service, which was conducted by a cantor from Jerusalem, Benyamin Glickman.

The services were also attended by Israelis working on the former Israel Embassy building at 24 Kashevitzky Street, which will house the interests section. The building has been vacant since Poland broke diplomatic relations with Israel in 1967 and in need of repairs.

Heavy security surrounded the synagogue, according to the Davar report. The Jewish community had requested it after the attack on an Istanbul synagogue by Arab terrorists last month. The Polish authorities provided uniformed police and plainclothesmen who wore black skullcaps whenever they entered the synagogue.

The synagogue was built several years ago with government assistance. The Jewish population of Poland is estimated at some 5,000, but only about 200 still attend prayer services. There has been no Jewish wedding for years. One elderly worshiper at the Rosh Hashanah services told the Davar correspondent, “We are not used to the presence of children.”

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