There have been several new developments this week. Unfortunately, reports of renewed fighting in Eastern Ukraine are growing, but the extent and implications of the renewed violence are yet unclear. On Wednesday, the OSCE reported more than 90 explosions near the city of Donetsk; other ceasefire violations have been reported close to Horlivka in the Donetsk region, several towns in the Luhansk region, and near Mariupol.
Last week, the prayer hall at the grave of Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein in Colomyja, in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine, was set on fire for the second time in recent months. NCSEJ's representative in Ukraine is reaching out to authorities in Kyiv to urge swift investigation into the desecration.
This week, Russia has finalized its deal with Iran to deliver S-300 missiles. It is unclear yet when the deliveries will begin.
I want to highlight a
New York Times
article by Andrew Kramer on the grim realities of life in the separatist-run areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It details a disturbing state of limbo for the local residents, who live in fear of chaos and hunger.
On a much brighter note, a three-day Limmud FSU conference was held in Lviv. Hundreds of participants gathered to celebrate Jewish life and learning. The Lviv Jewish community, which before World War II numbered close to 200,000, is now very small, but the symbolism of holding the event in a region that has been traditionally the heart of Ukrainian nationalism is significant.
Also this week, NCSEJ hosted a meeting for Board members and national agency representatives with Chief Rabbi of Kazakhstan Yeshaya Cohen, who gave an informative and thoughtful presentation on interfaith relations in the majority-Muslim nation.
I also want to recommend an article on the Jewish community of Tajikistan, many members of which chose to stay in the country despite problems.
Finally, don't forget to RSVP for the December Board of Governors meeting which will feature Keynote Speaker Congressman Ted Deutch, the Ambassadors from Ukraine and Poland, former Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer, MetroWest NJ Federation CEO Dov Ben-Shimon, and a tribute to outgoing chairman Stephen Greenberg. Visit