Belarus

  • From Minsk to Pinsk Living in Europe’s Last Dictatorship, Belarus Jews Face Unique Challenges

    The crammed bookshelves in Yakov Basin’s personal library form an unusual collection, a rogue’s gallery of all the anti-Semitic, conspiracy-fueling publications that Basin has plucked from Belarussian bookstores during the past decade. He pulls one from the shelf to illustrate his point: “War According to Laws of Meanness.” Its thesis of “Jewish crimes” — aspiring… More ▸

  • Burying Jewish Dead in Belarus a Problem After Cemetery Dispute

    The Jewish cemetery in the Belarusian city of Mogilev has been closed — but Jews are still being buried there. The issue involving the cemetery began last year, after local authorities decided to open the burial grounds to non-Jews. “Each day, new burial places are made over old Jewish bones,” said Naum Ioffe, chairman of… More ▸

  • Judaism Deemed a ‘traditional Faith’ in Belarus, but Law Still Worries Some

    The Jewish community in Belarus is split over a new religion bill that gives some religions — including Judaism — certain privileges denied to others. At least one major Jewish religious organization, the Jewish Religious Union of the Republic of Belarus, an Orthodox group, voiced its support of the bill passed Oct. 2. The bill… More ▸

  • Righteous Gentiles in Belarus Part of Local Jewish Community

    Vanda Skuratovich is rambling on about her favorite subject: her unyielding devotion to Catholicism. She refers to Mother Mary as her savior and she dwells on the importance of baptism. All of this seems normal enough until the 76-year-old Belarussian proudly unveils a poster-size family photograph of 64 Jews. “This is my family,” says Skuratovich,… More ▸

  • Belarus Isn’t Fighting Anti-semitism, Leader Says After Shul is Firebombed

    A Jewish leader in Belarus is expressing fear and frustration following the firebombing of a Minsk synagogue late last month. “Jews once more felt themselves completely unprotected,” said Yakov Basin, one of the leaders of Belarus’ 60,000-strong Jewish community. On the final night of Chanukah in late December, unidentified arsonists smashed windows and threw a… More ▸