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Yiddish Conference Returns Kiev to East Europe Map of Jewish Culture

About 150 scholars and writers from Ukraine, Russia, other European countries, Israel and the United States recently took part in an international Yiddish conference here.

The conference, held during the last days of August, returned Kiev to the map of Yiddish-speaking cities following a gap of more than 60 years, during which the Communists erased traces of Jewish culture and the Nazis eradicated Jews.

“In Ukraine we have a rich Yiddish culture,” said Leonid Finberg, one of the organizers of the seventh World Conference for Yiddish.

“For about 60 years we haven’t had the opportunity to work in this field. Only in the last few years could we achieve this,” Finberg said. He was referring to the demise of the Soviet Union and the efforts by Ukrainian officials to enable Jewish life to flourish here again.

The conference was sponsored by the World Council for Yiddish and Jewish Culture, head-quartered in Israel; the International Committee for the Promotion of Jewish Studies in Eastern Europe; the International Solomon University; and the Jewish Studies Association of Ukraine.

Other sponsors were the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations in Ukraine and the Rich Foundation, according to Finberg.

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