«Jewish Observer»
October 2002
5763 Cheshvan

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This is surprising and sad but true. For the first time over many years of interethnic accord in Ukraine anti-Semitic manifestations have received, God bless, not governmental, a certain public approval. There are lots of reasons to this - proximity to power structures of some anti - Semites, the situation in Ukraine and Israel (allegedly losing its attractiveness due to the continuing conflict), scandalous manifestations of anti-Semitism in educated Europe.

This everything is able to undermine a positive dynamics in the development of Ukrainian - Jewish relations since early 1990's.

The community center "Esh a-Torah" organized a meeting of intelligentsia on the eighth day of Sukkoth holiday. One of the meeting aims was to reverse the situation, to unite people of different nationalities but of same spiritual potential and human principles. "We've purposely invited intelligentsia. We intended to disclose to our friends a humane, spiritual context of Jewish holidays, in particular, of rich Sukkoth", - says a meeting's organizer, chairman of the Sholom - Aleikhem society, famous Ukrainian poet, and winner of the V.Vinnichenko international prize Grigory Falkovich. Among the guests one could meet such famous persons as a film producer Alexander Muratov, deputy chairman of Ukraine's National Union of writers Petr Osadchuk, Raul Chilachava, head of the Kiev writers' organization Leonid Cherevatenko, many others. There were no official appearances except, perhaps, a welcoming speech of the host - Rabbi of the "Esh a-Torah" community Mordekhai Raikhinshtein - who described to the guests ingredients of a huge pie called a Jewish way of life. After that the guests walked to a real table of a true Jewish cuisine. Probably, an easy communication among the like-minded should proceed like this, since an informal brotherhood has been, for decades, created namely there, "in the kitchen". Here nobody observes time limits, reminiscences flow, thoughts are voiced about our common future. Poets yield impromptus to be immediately fixed by journalists. What is the outcome? There emerges a very important feeling of unity, stronger than any marginal rubbish about a "Zionist plot" and a "Ukrainian - enemy of a Jew". There appears what the Ukrainian language defines with a short but very capacious word - "Zlagoda" ("Accord").

I tend to believe such practice of spiritual communication will be backed by the Sholom-Aleikhem and "Esh a -Torah" societies, by the Jewish and Ukrainian public circles.


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