Weekly News Update 

WASHINGTON, D.C. October 15, 2014



TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSEJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSEJ Executive Director
Dear Friend,

This month, workers completed the restoration of a 19th century synagogue complex in Lithuania, after seven years of renovations. The complex, which includes synagogues dating back to 1865 and 1823, is considered an important landmark within Lithuania and Eastern Europe as a whole.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Paris yesterday to discuss Russian troop withdrawal from the Ukraine border, and the impact of Western sanctions on Russia. Withdrawal of sanctions, Kerry stressed, depend on Russia's withdrawal from the conflict.

Reports also suggested that the two countries may once again be seeking other avenues of cooperation. According to the Associated Press, Kerry said both countries need to recognize their shared "major responsibilities" as world powers, including combating extremist groups like the Islamic State, and halting Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs.

This week's update includes a number of articles on the international response to the crisis in Ukraine.

A Washington Post op-ed by Jackson Diehl argues that while the U.S. and Western Europe are continuing to urge a strong response against Russia's policy in Ukraine, some Eastern European countries are reluctant to exert more pressure.

Many Eastern European countries depend on Russia for energy and trade, and are unconvinced that NATO will come to their defense, if Russia should retaliate against them for supporting sanctions.

Another Washington Post article by Michael Birnbaum examines the effects of external pressure on Russia on its domestic situation, and on public support for President Putin's policies.

I also want to highlight a Jerusalem Post article about the Jewish community of Belarus' cultural revival since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a Happy Simchat Torah!




Mark B. Levin

Executive Director

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Founded in 1971, NCSEJ represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union. 
Phone: 202-898-2500 
NCSEJ is a beneficiary of The Jewish Federations of North America and the National Federation/Agency Alliance through its network of Federations. 
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