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Joint b’nai mitzvah in Ukraine

The Reform congregation in a Crimean city hosted joint Ukrainian-British b’nai mitzvah.Five boys from Kerch were joined by two of their peers from Northwest Reform, a large Reform congregation in London, for the coming-of-age ceremony May 5. The London congregation has been supporting the Ukrainian congregation for five years. Rabbi Alexander Dukhovnvy, head of Ukraine’s Reform, or Progressive community, who officiated at the ceremony, said one of the boys from Kerch announced that he was reading from the Torah on behalf of his grandparents, who had been prevented from doing so during Soviet times.”The entire congregation became quite emotional when this boy said he was restoring Jewish tradition in his family,” Dukhovny said.Kerch is one of the few Reform congregations in the former Soviet Union to have its own synagogue, a historic building restored to the community by the government a decade ago.