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former Soviet Union

  • Falling dollar drops on Jewish Agency as well

    The day after JTA reported that the weak dollar is forcing the Joint to cut 60 jobs and other programing to deal with a $60 million shortfall, the JPost reports that the Jewish Agency is asking the government of Israel to become a more involved partner. Why? The falling dollar. The chairman of the Jewish… More ▸

  • JDC laying off 60 people, cutting aid programs

    Before it was buzz, now it’s official: The JDC is letting about 60 people go and looking to eliminate some programs. Here’s the first few graffs: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is cutting programming and is laying off 60 staffers in its overseas and New York offices, its executive vice president told JTA. The… More ▸

  • Belarus, by Helping to Restore Cemeteries, Takes Steps to Right Holocaust Wrongs

    A smattering of the 7,500 residents of this village where Jews once lived huddle under their umbrellas as the rain falls. They peer over their shoulders to catch a glimpse of Aaron Ginsburg, who traces his ancestors here, reciting a speech through tears. “Dokshitsers made new lives in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia… More ▸

  • Limmud FSU Becomes Self-sustaining and Spreads

    The night bus to Limmud Moscow navigates the Friday-night gridlock of Mercedes’ and Range Rovers on Rublovskoye highway, the main thoroughfare to the chateaus of Russia’s oligarchs. Huddled in the back of the bus, a group of newly minted Limmudniks, as organizers call them, pass the time playing cards and trading the Hebrew phrases they… More ▸

  • Jewish Program Helps Put Georgia Refugees to Work

    Nino Dvali projects optimism and confidence, and her almond eyes sparkle when she talks about her lifelong dream: owning her own clothing boutique. When the 24-year-old Georgia native proudly unfolds the elegant, handmade black dress she designed, which looks like something Audrey Hepburn would be proud to wear, it serves as a potent reminder of… More ▸

  • Shunned by West, Belarus Seeks Iran Ties

    Facing diplomatic troubles with the United States and higher energy prices from Russia, Belarus is looking for new partners overseas. It’s turning to Iran and the Arab world. Belarus has been a subject of Western criticism for more than a decade, primarily due to the government’s human rights record and limits on political freedoms. Things… More ▸

  • Georgia’s Jewish Heritage Imperiled with Talk of War

    Shuffling cautiously along the snow-packed road that cuts through the heart of the demilitarized zone, the soldiers take to joking around, asking about a visitor’s provenance. “Siegel. That’s like Steven Seagal the actor, right?” inquires one Kalashnikov-wielding soldier. He seems disappointed but nonplused when the visitor answers in the negative, pointing out that Seagal is… More ▸

  • Belarus Jews Stay Calm in Face of President’s Anti-semitic Slurs

    Despite Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s anti-Semitic slurs against the city of Bobruisk and Israel, the prevailing mood of the isolated European nation’s Jewish community is one of nearly surprising calm. “We are not concerned by the statement,” said Dr. Yakov Basin, the first deputy chairman of the Union of Belarusian Jewish Organizations and Communities. “What… More ▸

  • Hillel Moves to Campus, Private Sector in Former Soviet Union

    The hip-hop music was the same, as were the Israeli flags, the “boker tov” wake-up call and the close-knit, friendly atmosphere born of years spent together in Jewish summer camps. But a recent Hillel leadership conference in this northern suburb of St. Petersburg differed from similar gatherings in North America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways…. More ▸

  • U.S. Kids at Camps in FSU Get in the Swim on Heritage

    Spending part of last summer at a Jewish camp near St. Petersburg was somewhat of a culture shock for Texas-raised Jenny Mayants and she can’t wait to go back. Mayants, 17, spent several weeks at the camp speaking Russian, her native tongue but one she left behind as a child when her parents moved to… More ▸