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In a Kiev synagogue, Psalms for peace

After an overnight police raid that left dozens of protesters injured in Kiev’s Independence Square, and dozens more arrested, Kiev’s Jews gathered together yesterday morning to pray for their country.

In Kiev’s illustrious Brodsky Synagogue, an imposing Moorish building constructed between 1897 and 1898, what synagogue officials say was a “record” crowd gathered for morning prayers on December 11. The congregation recited Psalms for peace in Ukraine in the wake of protests that continue to rock the nation.

“We cannot be indifferent in this moment,” Ukraine’s Chabad chief rabbi, Moshe Azman, said in a statement. “We pray to the Almighty to help Ukraine and give His blessing to its people.”

Ukraine’s Jewish community, like the rest of the country, has been divided about the protest movement, which followed President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision not to sign a European Union association agreement. Some young Jews have joined the protests on Kiev’s streets. But some Jewish leaders, including Azman, have urged caution in light of the country’s tumultuous history.

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