S. Petersburg Jewish Students Visit Belarus

S. PETERSBURG, Russia - It has become a tradition for Jewish students in the STARS program for Jewish university students in Russia to visit Belarus, and this year was no exception. The STARS students toured the neighboring country of Belarus for three days in total.

Through this visit, participants had the chance to become better acquainted with Jewish history and, in particular, the history of the Jewish community in Belarus. Together with the program coordinators Igor Gomon and Rabbi Danny Ash, and accompanied by their local guide Elena Friedman, the group set off to discover more about Western Belarus.

"Our goal was to get to know what Belarus was like before the war destroyed Jewish communal life in this region," explained Rabbi Ash.

In the pre-war years, there were many towns and villages of Belarus where Jews constituted the majority of the population. The synagogues in those places were strikingly beautiful and symbols of prosperous Jewish communities. Now very little of this past splendor remains. What has survived, however, is the undefeatable spirit of Judaism.


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