Wednesday, October 17, 2012

World's Largest Jewish Center Opens in Ukraine

At 50,000 square meters, the seven-building complex named the Menorah Center, had its grand opening yesterday in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.  Several hundred dignitaries were on hand along with about 100 news reporters for the ceremonies that opened the largest and perhaps most unique Jewish cultural center in the world.
The building complex includes the Institute for Jewish Culture in Ukraine, a 3,000 square foot Holocaust museum, art galleries, a community center, a hotel, a kosher restaurant, and thousands of artifacts.
The Holocaust museum features photographic and video presentations, including pictures of the 40 major synagogues that were in Dnepropetrovsk prior to the Nazi invasion.  It is estimated that over 12,000 Jews living in the center were murdered by the Nazis in 1941.  The center will open to the public on October 21st, and will feature an exhibition entitled “Wanderings of the Children of Israel”, telling the story of the Diaspora in the Ukraine.  Museum curator Marina Shelest noted that, “Wanderings, voluntary or forced, are the biography of every Jew, and the artists that are represented in this show are no exception.”
Beth Moskowitz, representing the Jewish Community Relation Council in Boston, said, “We all thought that there would be no Jews here today in 2012.  To see the amount of Jews that actually take part in the Menorah Center and in the synagogue, in the Golden Rose Synagogue, the activities here -- it's hard to believe.  There has been an incredible revival.”
The European Jewish Public Affairs group representative, Rabbi Levi Yitschok Matusof described the impact of the Menorah Center, saying, “When there is a center like such in Dnepropetrovsk and also in other places in Ukraine where there are striving Jewish communities in terms of buildings and spaces, people feel that there is a place where they could come, there is someone they could talk to, there is a meal they could share, there is a place where they could send their children to learn, to be educated better, to have a proper Jewish life, and at the same time living integrated fully in the society with a European perspective.”
Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora looked forward with anticipation to when “we will see this place full of kids, full of different Jewish activities, full of different organizations working here," Edelstein said. "I think that this will be the real answer to what Nazis and communists tried to do to Jewish communities in the Ukraine and in the former Soviet Union.
“Listen to this message from the LORD, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands:  The LORD, who scattered His people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock.  For the LORD has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them.” (Jeremiah 31:10-11 NLT)
Rejoice with us and Israel over the opening of this new center.  Rejoice with us that the Lord has brought Israel into the Land.  Rejoice with us that He is watching over His flock.  And pray with us for the peace of Jerusalem. (Psalm 122:6)
For more information see Israel National News, and Radio Free Europe.

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