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Ukraine’s president lit Chanukah candles at a Kiev synagogue.

During Tuesday’s ceremony at the Central Synagogue, Viktor Yuschenko announced a state inventory and return of religious property.

Yuschenko expressed his respect for Ukrainian Jews and, in reaffirming that his country will safeguard the cultural and spiritual needs of all ethnic minorities, he cited in particular that Ukraine will be “tolerant and sensitive” to the Jewish community’s needs.

“My position toward the Jewish nation and people always was open and remains the same,” the kipah-clad Yuschenko said. “Today we are representatives of two fraternal nations, and we are responsible for today’s dialogue and respect to the past. We should pass this way neatly.”

Yuschenko announced that during the first quarter of next year, a state inventory of all religious property will be carried out in Ukraine, and then the state will return to those properties to the appropriate religious communities.

Yuschenko was celebrating his sixth Chanukah at the Central Synagogue.

A menorah was lit in the Polish parliament’s lower house for the first time.

Rabbi Shalom Stambler of Chabad-Lubavitch and Deputy Parliament Speaker Jaroslaw Kalinowski kindled the menorah on Monday, the seventh night of Chanukah. The crowned eagle, a symbol of the Polish state, decorated the pre-World War II menorah.

On the same night, representatives of the Jewish community joined Polish President Lech Kaczynski to light a menorah in the presidential palace in what has become an annual tradition since Kaczynski became president in 2005.

Fewer than 30,000 Jews reside in Poland today, compared with 3.5 million before World War II. Approximately 90 percent of Poland’s Jews died in the Holocaust.

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