region saw (and still sees) a high rate of Surrounded by mountains and divided THE KRASNOYARSK FESTIVAL:
intermarriage, and as a result, Krasnovarsk's in two parts by the Enisey River, today YOUR FRONT ROW SEAT IN PICTURES
Jews are bv and large secular, having only Krasnoyarsk is a cultural center with 8 The week before the Festival, Krasnoyarsk
a social connection to their Judaism, and theatres, five museums, 100 public libraries, is abuzz with excitement. Here the media
expressing little interest in their spiritual and a population of several million. But it asks Jonathan for all the details on what is
culture and heritage. One local rabbi calls wasn't always that way. When one speaks to con\]e!
the middle age Jews a "lost cause," while of Krasnoyarsk's history,, they also speak of
another rabbi adds, "If we don't solve this Jewish history in this area of Central Siberia.
problem in 10 }'ears, the Jewish community
will be finished." y:5
Despite its large Jewish communiD ~,
Krasnovarsk has experienced incidents of
anti-Semitism: It is believed that the Neo-
Nazi group RNU (Russian National Unib0
was behind two incidents in 2000, where
swastikas and other anti-Semitic slogans
were painted on the wails of a synagogue Jews were among the first settlers here week prior to the ~-
when, as war prisoners, they were sent from event, a round-the-
Moscow in the early 1600's to colonize the clock prayer and : "
area and strengthen the Moscow principaliD,. intercession room
Exiled Jews would continue to be the main was made available. ~~i,i-' " :."
reason for growth of the Jewish communib, Here, a Russian
in Krasnoyarsk, as well as all over Siberia. man prays for thel
The first Jewish synagogue was built in upcoming Festival.
Krasnoyarsk in the early 1800s, and bv the Jonathan and
end of the 19th Century, it's estimated some P ,i Sid Roth brought v ......... -~*~.
and on headstones in a local cemete U. 34,000 Jews lived in Siberia. humanitarian aid, ~
The following year, Parliament elected a It was hoped that the establishment of good will and love to
newspaper editor who'd written anti-Semitic a Jewish center of prayer and a sizeable a nearby orphanage. ,i
articles and complained about the "Jew-boys Jewish population would contribute to Thev also brought volunteer Nancy Higgins
who have taken over Russia." And in the the preservation of Jewish life and culture. who entertained and put smiles on the faces
summer of 2002, an unidentified box with Indeed, greater numbers of Jews continued of tile children!
anti-Semitic slogans was found on the street to move to Krasnoyarsk and other areas
in front of the airport. of Siberia, many of them as refugees from
It is this area where the need for Jewish German occupied areas during WWII.
people to connect with the One True God of But an interesting dynamic took place
Israel is indeed great. And as you will see within Rrasnoyarsk's Jewish community--
from the Festival pictures on the following it's estimated that some 90% of the Jewish
pages, it is something they have been workers who had been exiled here were
hungering for. and God has opened the male, and there were relatively few Jewish
door! women to be found in the area. Thus, the
4 Jewish Voice Today November/December 2004
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