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former Soviet Union

  • Ort Schools in FSU Suffer Cutbacks

    Students in uniform dart in and out of the nondescript door of School No. 550, sandwiched between one of this river city’s iconic canals and the edge of its seediest market. The school seems to be perched on the edge of regal affluence, but it already has pitched headlong into the din of financial turmoil…. More ▸

  • FSU Chabad Emissaries Remember Holtzbergs

    Chabad emissaries across the former Soviet Union memorialized the victims of last week’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Many among the tight-knit group serving in synagogues and community centers across the former Soviet Union — the largest Chabad network outside Israel and Brooklyn — knew Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg. The Holtzbergs were killed in an… More ▸

  • Budgets Slashed at Jewish Schools in FSU

    Across the former Soviet Union, Chabad’s outreach network is facing an acute financial crisis that has slashed budgets across the board and left the region’s largest network of Jewish schools scrambling to stay afloat. Accounts of the depth of the financial crisis for Chabad in the former Soviet Union vary widely among rabbis and professionals… More ▸

  • Georgia-russia Conflict Requires Israel to Balance Competing Interests

    In the war between Georgia and Russia, Israel faced a choice between a fair-weather ally and a friend by proxy. When the conflict flared two weeks ago, first with Georgia’s shelling of the capital of South Ossetia and then with Russian tanks rumbling through the breakaway province into Georgia, Israel hedged its bets: It didn’t… More ▸

  • Anatomy of an Aid Effort: Rescue and Relief in Georgia

    Some ran Friday when the bombs fell on Tskhinvali, some on Saturday when they fell on Gori and some on Sunday when the Russian tanks rolled into Georgia proper. The Jews of Georgia scattered, disappeared and resurfaced in refugee camps, relatives’ homes or at the doors of the synagogue. As Russia occupied Georgia, pushing ever… More ▸

  • Flee for Safety or Guard Home? Georgia’s Jews Face Wartime Dilemmas

    Tina Pshavtoshvili is a refugee, living in a borrowed room in a strange city and facing an uncertain future — again. Last time she was forced to flee a war zone she was running from Tskhinvali, capital of the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia. Her daughter was a baby, along for the escape during… More ▸

  • Jews Caught on Both Sides of Georgia-russia Fighting

    Russian and Georgian troops continued to fight a pitched battle Monday that has spilled beyond the borders of South Ossetia and toward the Georgian city of Gori, where Jewish relief organizations continued to make contact with local Jews. More than 200 Jewish residents fled the Russian bombardment over the weekend. More have decided to leave… More ▸

  • As Fighting Rages in the Caucasus, Israel Playing Down Georgia Ties

    As Russian and Georgian forces battle over South Ossetia, Israel finds itself on the defensive. Though a favored armed supplier for the former Soviet republic, the Jewish state now appears to be at pains to play down these ties rather than risk a crisis with Moscow. It is more than just sound diplomacy. With Russia… More ▸

  • Project Genesis clarification

    The post from Tuesday regarding the Russian Genesis Philanthropy Group had several inaccuracies. The project to fund Jewish identity programs for Russian-speaking Jews is funded only by Russian billionaires,while American groups such as the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Chais Family Foundation are only consultants and/or board members. Philanthropists Lev Leviev and… More ▸

  • Rhythmic Gymnasts Go to the Mat with Approach Born in FSU

    On one side of the cavernous gym, six members of Israel’s first Olympic rhythmic gymnastics team warm up in a circle, chatting softly in a mix of Russian and Hebrew while stretching their legs in effortless splits on the mat. Nearby, Irina Risenzon, a fellow gymnast competing in the individual category, is trying to master… More ▸