Connect with us


Event in Berlin marks one of Germany’s largest-ever gatherings for its ex-Soviet Jewish community

BERLIN — It was hard to overlook the symbolism: the city that once was the epicenter of Nazi Germany hosting a massive celebration by Jews with roots in the Communist Soviet Union, which for decades tried to stamp out any hint of Jewish practice or identity.

Over three days, some 750 Jews with ties to the former Soviet Union gathered in Berlin to celebrate Jewish culture, play Yiddish music, take part in conversations about everything from current events to Jewish and Israeli history, and eat, sing and learn together.

The March 31-April 2 conference in Berlin organized by Limmud FSU marked the organization’s first-ever event held in Germany — and its first pan-European conference since a February 2020 event in Vienna held on the eve of the global coronavirus pandemic.

For this weekend, participants from 24 countries converged on a hotel in the German capital, including 50 or so who made the difficult trip from war-ravaged Ukraine. Among them was Olena Kolpakova, 41, who had traveled nearly 48 hours by bus and train to Berlin with her 9-year-old daughter, Anastasia, from Dnipro in eastern Ukraine.

“Our house isn’t destroyed, and our city isn’t occupied. But we still have 10 to 12 air-raid sirens a day,” said Kolpakova, a lawyer and Limmud FSU Ukraine volunteer since 2009. “These people are more than friends for me. I love Limmud and I know everyone.”

The packed program was held mostly in Russian with a smattering of sessions in English.

“This first-ever Limmud FSU conference in Germany is an opportunity to celebrate our rich cultural heritage, learn from one another and strengthen our connections across borders,” said Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler.

Since its creation in 2005 to bolster Jewish connections and identity among Jews from the former Soviet Union, Limmud FSU has held dozens of conferences around the globe that collectively have drawn over 80,000 participants.

Holding a Jewish festival in Berlin was particularly significant, organizers noted. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, over 170,000 Soviet Jews emigrated to Germany. That wave of immigration more than doubled the size of the country’s Jewish community, which is now comprised mostly of Jews with roots in the Soviet Union.

Germany is the only country in Europe that has seen such significant Jewish population growth in the last half-century.

Volunteers in Berlin made up a big part of the organizers of the Limmud FSU conference in Germany on March 31-April 2, 2023. (Alex Khanin)

The conference in Berlin was a mixture of celebration, study and culture. Fo Sho, a hip-hop band comprised of three Jewish-Ethiopian-Ukrainian sisters, delivered a rousing performance. Israeli celebrity chef Gil Hovav talked about his famous great-grandfather, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the Yiddish-speaking yeshiva student who became the father of modern Hebrew. World Jewish Congress official Lena Bakman spoke of the 400-strong WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps as the “unofficial foreign affairs ministry for the Jewish people.”

For some participants, such as Dora Haina of Riga, Latvia, the weekend in Berlin marked their first exposure ever to Limmud FSU.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling that everything here is in my language, and that all these people are Jews,” said Haina, 24, who speaks Russian. “I came to socialize and meet new people.”

That’s the point, said Limmud FSU’s longtime chairman, Matthew Bronfman.

“Our inaugural conference in Berlin is a momentous occasion for our organization and the entire community of FSU Jews in Europe,” Bronfman said. “It serves as a symbol of our continued dedication to preserving and celebrating Jewish culture and heritage, while also promoting a sense of unity and connection among our community members across borders and generations.”

Key supporters of Limmud FSU Europe include the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (the Claims Conference), Genesis Philanthropy Group, the World Zionist Organization, Nativ-Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeIsrael, the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund, the Jewish Agency for Israel, philanthropist Diane Wohl, Bill Hess and others.

“It was a major, successful and very important event for FSU Jews in Europe in general and in particular for the hundreds of refugees from Ukraine,” Alex Mershon, director of Nativ’s Department of Culture and Education, said of the conference in Berlin.

“The resilience and vitality of Jewish heritage were on full display, reminding us that when we come together with open minds and open hearts, there is much we can achieve,” said Marina Yudborovsky, CEO of the Genesis Philanthropy Group. “Let the spirit of this event inspire us to continue to overcome challenges and create positive change in the world together.”

One of the highlights of the Berlin conference was a lecture by Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Jerusalem. He spoke about his work catching Nazi war criminals in countries where locals often collaborated with their German occupiers and noted that even today nationalism and antisemitism impedes justice for the Holocaust’s victims and their descendants.

“Without political will, there will never be any justice,” Zuroff said.

There was also a lot of talk at the conference about the turmoil in Israel, where a government plan to overhaul the judiciary has prompted protests by hundreds of thousands, including many leading national figures.

“I can’t believe I’m demonstrating against my own government,” said Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, a former Israeli attorney general and vice president of the Supreme Court. “It’s very unusual and heartbreaking in a way, having been a public servant all these years.”

Over three days on March 31-April 2, 2023, some 750 Jews with ties to the former Soviet Union gathered in Berlin to celebrate Jewish culture, play music and take part in conversations about everything from current events to Jewish and Israeli history. Children were among the attendees. (Alex Khanin)

One of the weekend’s most riveting testimonies came from Sonia Tartakovskaya, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor who last year witnessed the Russian bombardment of Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv.

“I don’t remember the war, because I was born in 1939. And in 1941, I was sent to Tajikistan. But this war of 2022 I remember, because I saw the burning houses and I was completely alone,” Tartakovskaya said through a translator.

“On March 17, my neighbor took me to her relatives in western Ukraine, and on March 31, I came to Berlin,” she said. “Today marks one year I’m here, and I deeply appreciate everything the Jewish Agency, the Claims Conference and all other Jewish organizations have done for me.”

Tartakovskaya is among 94 Holocaust survivors who were spirited out of Ukraine and brought to Germany via Poland since Russia launched its war 13 months ago, said Ruediger Mahlo, who heads the German office of the Claims Conference. Before the war Ukraine was home to some 10,000 Holocaust survivors; today, barely 6,500 remain, according to Mahlo.

“Imagine the paradox,” Mahlo said. “Survivors who at a young age had to flee, and now at the end of their lives they have to flee again, from Russia — a country that liberated them — to a country that over 75 years ago wanted to annihilate them.”

Limmud FSU’s co-founder, Sandra F. Cahn, said the participation in the conference of Jews from Ukraine was inspiring.

“Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, we are heartened to see so many participants from that country joining us for this historic event,” Cahn said. “This conference serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of building bridges between communities and promoting cultural exchange, even in the face of hardships.”

The post Event in Berlin marks one of Germany’s largest-ever gatherings for its ex-Soviet Jewish community appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


Comparing European, American, and French Roulette at Canadian online casinos

Roulette is the most popular table game at online and land-based casinos alike. You can easily find a seat at the table, place your bets, and hope that the wheel turns in your favour. But you have surely noticed that the roulette section is quite rich, featuring at least a dozen different tables. Most of them come with a different design and different rules. The most popular roulette variants are American Roulette, European, and French Roulette. In this article, we will try to explain the main differences between each one.

French VS European Roulette

We’ll first compare the French versus the European version of roulette since they are the most similar. The layout of the bets and the wheel is basically the same. Even the table layout is pretty much the same at most online casinos. Depending on the provider some differences can be found, like the layout of the table or the order of the numbers of the wheel. But as far as the odds and gameplay are concerned, European and French Roulette are basically the same. 

Both roulette variants have a single 0 on the board and the same number of slots on the wheel and numbers on the table. There are 36 additional numbers you can bet on, along with the standard Red or Black and Odd or Even bets. This means both games come with a house edge of 2.7%. So, the only difference comes from the introduction of two basic rules in French Roulette. 

  • La Partage
  • En Prison

La Partage

This rule applies to even money bets, and in case the ball lands on the 0 slot. The term comes from the French word which means to divide. All even money bets are divided into half, and the player gets one half, while the other half goes to the house. This rule works greatly in your favour, especially if you’re playing on higher bets. 

En Prison

The En Prison bet is also applied to even money bets and only when the ball lands on 0. Instead of counting as a loss, the bets are held on the table for the following spin, and if you win, you get your bet back. Even though you don’t actually win anything extra, the En Prison rule gives you a chance to get your money back without a loss. 

The introduction of these rules lowers the house edge on French Roulette down to 1.35%. This is why many players prefer the French version, as the odds are better for the player. 

French VS American Roulette

The main and pretty much only crucial difference between American and French roulette is the 00 and the layout of the slots on the wheel. The added 00 on the American version means that the house edge is higher. It climbs up to 5.26%, which is almost double the house edge on European Roulette and a massive difference from the 1.35% on the French version. 

Since there is an added 00 number, the layout of the slots on the wheel is different. On the table, the 00 is next to the 0, so it doesn’t make a big difference to the layout of the table. But the rules in American roulette are quite simple. If your number doesn’t come up, you lose the bet. There are no extra rules like in the French version. 


If you go by the odds alone, it turns out that the best roulette variant to play at Canadian online casinos is French roulette. But this doesn’t mean you will lose more when you play American or European Roulette. Many players prefer to play the American wheel as it’s faster and more exciting. With the right strategy and some luck on your side, you can easily make a profit on any type of roulette game. 

Continue Reading


Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism

niversity of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram

University of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram – “Never would I have imagined that I’d need to fight for my right to exist on campus,” laments Shabbos Kestenbaum, a student at Harvard University who is suing the school because “antisemitism is out of control.”

Jewish students have suffered an unrelenting explosion of hate on American higher education campuses—so far with little relief. They have endured antisemitic rhetoric, intimidation, cancellation and violence. But those charged with keeping campuses safe—whether administrators who govern student and faculty behavior or federal agencies responsible for ensuring that schools adhere to civil rights protections—are failing in their jobs.

Many Jewish students have complained to their colleges’ administrators about the injustices. But instead of responding with measures to ensure Jewish students’ safety—like stopping pro-Hamas protestors from hijacking campuses or expelling militants who incite Jew-hatred— administrators have largely shown indifference. In some cases, college authorities have made things worse for Jewish students by appeasing the riotous, pro-Hamas mobs who have been primary perpetrators of Jew-hatred on campus.

Snubbed by college administrators, Jewish students and their supporters have appealed for federal protection, filing Title VI complaints with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the body tasked with enforcing protections under the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, the OCR, which has the power to levy severe financial punishments against colleges that neglect students’ Title VI rights, has so far rewarded negligent universities with little more than slaps on the wrist.

Until college and university boards of trustees begin hiring administrators committed to Jewish students’ safety—and until the OCR begins seriously punishing antisemitic perpetrators—we can expect no respite. Safe to say, colleges and universities run by arrogant, apathetic administrators will not change until their jobs and schools’ survival are threatened.

College/university administrators don’t take antisemitism seriously. Their reactions to Jewish students raising concerns about Jew-hatred range from indifference to outright hostility. For example, when Mohammed Al-Kurd, who the Anti-Defamation League says has a record of “unvarnished, vicious antisemitism,” came to speak at Harvard, Shabbos Kestenbaum and other Jewish students complained to administrators.

Rather than cancel Al-Kurd’s appearance, which would have been the appropriate action, the administrators ignored the students’ complaints. “Harvard’s silence was deafening,” Kestenbaum wrote in Newsweek. Kestenbaum said he “repeatedly” expressed concerns to administrators about the antisemitism he experienced, but as his lawsuit alleges, “evidence of uncontrolled discrimination and harassment fell on deaf ears.”

Administrators at Columbia University reacted to Jewish students’ complaints about antisemitism even more cynically. In fact, during an alumni event, several administrators exchanged text messages mocking Jewish students, calling them “privileged” and “difficult to listen to.”

When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania if calling for genocide against Jews violated their schools’ codes of conduct, none could say “yes.” The presidents of Harvard and UPenn have since resigned. Good riddance.

Some college/university administrators have outrageously granted concessions to pro-Hamas students. For instance, Northwestern University agreed to contact potential employers of students who caused campus disruptions to insist they be hired, create a segregated dormitory hall exclusively for Middle Eastern, North African and Muslim students, and form a new investment committee in which anti-Zionists could wield undue influence. Brown University agreed to hold a referendum on divestment from Israel in October.

Similar appeasements were announced at other colleges and universities, including Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota and the University of California Riverside.

So far, OCR has failed to take concrete action against antisemitism on campus. This is evident in recent decisions involving the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of Michigan. CUNY was ordered to conduct more investigations into Title VI complaints and report further developments to Washington, provide more employee and campus security officer training, and issue “climate surveys” to students.

The University of Michigan also committed to a “climate survey,” as well as to reviewing its case files for each report of discrimination covered by Title VI during the 2023-2024 school year and reporting to the OCR on its responses to reports of discrimination for the next two school years.

Neither institution was penalized financially, even though the Department of Education has the power to withhold federal funds, which most colleges and universities depend on. There are now 149 pending investigations into campus antisemitism at OCR. If these investigations yield toothless results similar to those of CUNY and Michigan, it is highly unlikely that colleges and universities will improve how they deal with antisemitism.

Putting an end to skyrocketing antisemitism on campus involves three things.

First, donors and governments at every level should withhold funds from colleges that fail to hire administrators who will take antisemitism as seriously as they take pronoun offenses or racism directed at people of color.

Second, the OCR must mete out serious consequences to Title VI violators in the form of funding cuts. This may require legislation that specifically mandates withdrawing funding from offending parties. A bill recently introduced by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.)—the University Accountability Act—may be ideal, as it is designed to financially penalize institutions that don’t crack down on antisemitism.

Third, if OCR won’t act, Jewish students and their supporters should turn to the courts. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the legal director of the Deborah Project, a public-interest Jewish law firm, argues that the CUNY settlement demonstrates the futility of going to OCR and that going to court is more likely to produce “a clearly delineated and productive result,” such as punitive and compensatory fines. As of late May, at least 14 colleges and universities are facing lawsuits over their handling of antisemitism on campus since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

As long as college administrators are allowed to ignore antisemitism on campus and as long as OCR and other government institutions fall short in punishing Jew-hatred, antisemitism will continue to plague Jewish students.

The post Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism first appeared on

Continue Reading


Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK

Candace Owens speaks at CPAC on March 2, 2023. Photo: Lev Radin via Reuters Connect

Political commentator Candace Owens claimed on Friday that the US is being held “hostage” by Israel and suggested that AIPAC, the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the US, was behind the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy.
“It seems like our country is being held hostage by Israel,” Owens, a right-wing provocateur, said during the opening segment of her YouTube show, where she interviewed far-left commentator Briahna Joy Gray.
“I’m going to get in so much trouble for that. I don’t care,” Owens lamented.
Gray, who was the guest for this episode, was recently fired from The Hill‘s TV show, Rising, after aggressively cutting off and rolling her eyes at the sister of an Israeli hostage who said that Hamas sexually assaulted women during the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and that people should believe those women. Gray, who claimed her firing was politically motivated, had repeatedly cast doubt on the sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women during the Hamas-led onslaught.
However, Owens said that part of the reasons she was addressing the subject was that people were being fired because they were “not happy … when an innocent Palestinian kid dies” or for “critiquing a foreign nation.”
Also on Friday’s show, Owens claimed US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was “wading into some dangerous waters” when, during an interview with host Tucker Carlson, he spoke about how effective the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is at lobbying members of Congress and suggested the group should have to register as a foreign agent that is acting on behalf of Israel.
The reason it was dangerous, Owens said, was because “we know there was once a president that wanted to make AIPAC register, and he ended up shot … so Thomas Massie better be careful.”
Owens was referencing the fact that Kennedy wanted the American Zionist Council, a lobby group, to register as a foreign agent. However, there is no evidence the group had anything to do with Kennedy’s assassination.
Owens and The Daily Wire, which was co-founded by conservative and Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro, parted ways after Owens flirted with antisemitic conspiracy theories for a number of months, especially following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
“In all communities there are gangs. In the black community we’ve got the Bloods, we’ve got the Crips. Well, imagine if the Bloods and the Crips were doing horrific things, murdering people, controlling people with blackmail, and then every time a person spoke out about it, the Bloods and the Crips would call those people racist,” Owens said while still at The Daily Wire. “What if that is what is happening right now in Hollywood if there is just a very small ring of specific people who are using the fact that they are Jewish to shield themselves from any criticism. It’s food for thought, right? … this appears to be something that is quite sinister.”
Additionally, after getting into a spat with an outspoken and controversial rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, she said, “Are you going to kill me? Are you going to kill me, because I refuse to kowtow to you, and I think it’s weird that you and your daughter are promoting and selling sex toys, that’s why I deem you an ‘unholy rabbi?’”
“You gross me out. You disgust me. I am a better person than you, and I do not fear you,” Owens continued.
The list of controversial incidents involving Owens continued to grow longer with time. In one case, she “liked” an X/Twitter post that promoted the antisemitic “blood libel.” The post read, in response to Boteach, “Rabbi, are you drunk on Christian blood again?”
The “blood libel” is a medieval anti-Jewish slur which falsely claims that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in their religious rituals.

The post Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK first appeared on

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News