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  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES

    MOSCOW, April 16 (JTA) – The weekend takeover of Russia’s only independent, nationwide television channel by the state-owned natural gas monopoly Gazprom is being seen here as a crackdown on free speech. The NTV channel had been the property of Vladimir Goussinsky, the former president of the Russian Jewish Congress – leading some Russian Jews,…

  • 500 attend Moscow Jewish children’s festival

    MOSCOW, April 11 (JTA) – Olga, a 15-year-old high school student from Kiev, led a Passover seder for her family for the first time this year. Introducing her two younger brothers to Passover, she sang Hebrew and Yiddish melodies she had learned at Jewish choir classes in Kiev. “My non-Jewish friends keep wondering what is…

  • Goussinsky resignation seen as surrender to Kremlin

    MOSCOW, March 4 (JTA) — The resignation by the president of the Russian Jewish Congress is being interpreted by many observers here as a capitulation to the Kremlin. Vladimir Goussinsky, a Jewish media tycoon subjected to a Kremlin-backed campaign on allegations of fraud and embezzlement, said he quit because his legal troubles are preventing him…

  • Kremlin nod to Lubavitch causing controversy

    MOSCOW, March 25 (JTA) — Russian Jewish leaders are speaking out against what is being seen as the Kremlin’s most serious attempt yet to decide who represents the country’s Jews. When the Lubavitch movement’s chief rabbi in Russia was named last week to a high-profile Kremlin advisory panel that includes leaders of all religions officially…

  • Fewer Russian Jews immigrating to Israel

    MOSCOW, March 19 (JTA) – Vladimir and Marina still plan to immigrate to Israel next month with their 13-year-old daughter – despite the ongoing violence in the region and their poor chances of finding jobs in their careers. “We do not feel at home here. Besides, we don’t think” the economic situation in Russia is…

  • Lithuania moves against ex-Nazis

    MOSCOW, Feb. 22 (JTA) — Lithuania has long been accused of purposefully dragging its feet in Nazi-era war crimes cases. But two recent events appear to show that the former Soviet republic is responding to international pressure and moving ahead with some prosecutions. Last week the country saw its first successful World War II-era conviction…

  • Reports: Russia too lax toward anti-Semitism

    MOSCOW, Feb. 11 (JTA) — A popular Russian television anchor recently asked his viewers if they believe Jews use Christian blood to make matzah during Passover. The answers were split about 50-50, shocking the anchor. Perhaps a lot of viewers who don’t believe this age-old anti-Semitic canard had neglected to call in, he surmised. Or…

  • Wallenberg’s death remains a mystery

    MOSCOW, Jan. 15 (JTA) — Despite 10 years of study by a joint Russian-Swedish commission, the mystery surrounding Raoul Wallenberg remains unsolved. The commission studying the case of the Swedish diplomat, who saved tens of thousands of Jews during World War II only to be arrested by Soviet agents in Budapest in 1945, issued two…

  • JCCs central to Jewish life in former Soviet Union

    MOSCOW, Jan. 2 (JTA) – In the United States, Jewish community centers are known mostly for their pools and nursery schools. In the former Soviet Union, however, JCCs are seen as an essential tool for rebuilding Jewish life. The centers, the majority of which are funded by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, house Jewish…

  • Jewish official nearly killed in Moscow mikvah

    MOSCOW, Dec. 26 (JTA) — A Jewish leader may well have saved his life by doing the “dead man’s float” in a local mikvah. In a bizarre incident possibly linked to rivalries within the local Jewish community, Avrohom Berkowitz had put on his winter coat and was about to leave Moscow’s Choral Synagogue last Saturday…