Today we consider the situation of Jews in Ukraine, the nature of Ukrainian nationalism, and its impact on Europe, USA, and Israel

Today is the day of rest and an opportunity to get further acquainted with the city and its people. The day for meeting, talking and schmoozing with the Jews of Kiev, the capital of the new country where the beauty is often the face of evil (above is a photo of Botanic Garden built on top of the Jewish Cemetary). One place to do it is Brodsky synagogue.

 

While the total Jewish population of Ukraine is less than one-twentieth of what it was at the beginning of 20th century, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the number of Jews in Kiev had doubled to more than 200,000. The Jewish life here is reviving in a great variety of ways.

 

After lunch, we walk to visit the Museum of Holodomor. It is a monument to millions of Ukrainian peasants who died due to starvation forced on them by Stalin in 1932-1933. This mass murder was the result of the Soviet policy of collectivization. To remove Ukrainian nationalism as "the main danger to us", in the words of Kosior, the leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine in 1933, the Soviet authorities engaged in vicious repression of the Ukrainian peasantry, even though it was the foundation of their support during Russian Revolution. Many Ukrainian nationalists pin Holodomor on Jews while explaining the supposed Jewish motivation to kill them by reference to the Jewish (and now forgotten) genocide in Ukraine of 1918-1920.

 

After dinner, we meet in our hotel with local Jewish journalists, activists of leading Jewish organizations, business people, Jewish school teachers and students in our hotel to present their views to us and answer our questions about the present situation of Jews in Ukraine, the nature of Ukrainian society, and their view of the Jewish future there.

 

Day 3, Saturday, May 12

Center for Jewish Life Studies

9001 Keating Avenue 

Skokie, IL 60076

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