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  • 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 ▸

  • With Chabad Struggling in Belarus, Reform Community Has Stepped Up

    Visitors to any capital city in the former Soviet Union are likely to find a building much like the one at Kropotkina 22 in central Minsk. Situated on prime real estate and a stone’s throw from the U.S. Embassy, it bears the insignia of Chabad-Lubavitch. Yet this particular Chabad synagogue and community center is strikingly… More ▸

  • Belarus Jews Fight for Yeshiva but Lack Funds to Renovate It

    A historic yeshiva in Belarus that was returned to the Jewish community could be confiscated again if local Jews can’t raise $20,000 to renovate the building. Authorities last week gave the community until May 10 to raise the money or face a lawsuit returning ownership of the building to the municipality. At stake is the… More ▸

  • Belarus Jewish Leader Protests After Teacher is Pressured for Purim Party

    A Jewish leader in Belarus has sent a letter to Belarusian officials arguing that a local prosecutor illegally forced a Jewish kindergarten teacher to remove Jewish symbols from classrooms. Yakov Basin, the deputy leader of the country’s Jewish community, sent the letter last month, after the prosecutor said Lyudmila Izakson-Bolotovskaya violated the law by holding… 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 ▸

  • Jews in Belarus Walk Tightrope As Lukashenko Sweeps to Victory

    Boris voted for the opposition candidate in this week’s election in Belarus — even though he knew Alexander Milinkevich wasn’t going to win. “I only want to be given a chance to vote freely and choose freely who I want,” said Boris, a 36-year-old Jewish businessman who asked that his last name not be used…. More ▸