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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Emerging communities

Good, positive news from Russia

VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia – For the first time in 75 years, Vladikavkaz hosted a traditional Jewish Bar Mitzvah ceremony to celebrate the coming of age for boys. This has become a first large-scale event to take place in the newly-renovated Jewish Community Center – the historical Synagogue building, which now hosts the Jewish community in this capital of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania.

For the first time in their lives, three 13-year-old boys – Boris Nadel, David Plyaskin and Alyosha Kornienko – performed activities that had previously been excluded to them. They recited a blessing, put on tefillins and talits and read out a Torah chapter, just like adults do.

Many people attended this festive event, which was led by Stas Natsiyevsky, one of the leaders of the local Jewish Youth Club, who studied in a yeshiva in Israel. Men prayed and read Torah, while women took care of a festive dinner for all the participants. According to tradition, they cooked many treats so that this event will remain in the boys’ memory as a sweet and important moment in their lives. As well, girls threw candies over the heads of the boys, in order that Torah study will become a pleasant occupation for them.

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