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former Soviet Union

  • 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 ▸

  • 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 ▸