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22 September 2019 → From Abraham to Chagall: Minsk residents were introduced to Jewish culture and traditions in the Upper City

On September 22, a festival of Jewish culture was held near the City Hall, the "Minsk-Novosti" Agency correspondent reports.

"Jews have been living in Belarus since the 14th century," Vladimir CHERNITSKY, Chairman of the Union of Belarusian Jewish Public Associations and Communities, said at the opening ceremony. "Three Presidents of Israel - Haim Weizman, Zalman Shazar, Shimon Peres.  famous film producer Louis Mayer, actor Stephen Seagal, artists Marc Chagall and Chaim Soutine were born in Sineokaya (the country of blue-eyed people)," he continued.

Minsk is the city where the Nobel laureate Zhores Alferov studied, where the outstanding architect Leonid Levin worked.

On the square near the City Hall, previously it was called Market Square, Jews used to meet on weekends: they traded, exchanged news or just gossiped. It is gratifying that for the fourth year already the Upper City is the place where the Festival of Jewish culture has gathered representatives of the diaspora, citizens and guests of the capital.

Yekaterina LITVAK, First Secretary of the Israeli Embassy in Belarus, emphasized that representatives of the diaspora from all over the country had come to Minsk - this is a common holiday. In his turn, Alexander SHESTAKOV, Deputy Head of the Department of Culture of the Minsk City Executive Committee, thanked the Union of Jewish Communities and the Israeli Embassy for organizing the celebration and wished the guests of the event a vivid impression of the holiday.

The visitors of the event were treated with matzoh, were offered to try themselves in the Israeli martial art of the Krav Maga, and were introduced to ancient symbols.

"My neighbor is a Jewish woman. She is a wonderful woman," said pensioner Tamara Fedorovna. "She has taught me to cook cimes, which helps with radiculitis. As I live not far away from here, I also came to the Festival: I associate it with good people".

Monkey - "coff", hamster - "oger", cow - "para": when painting the drawings, the children recognized the names of the  animals in Hebrew. The kids were also offered to make postcards with their own hands, play, answer the quiz questions.

Here, in the stylized Jewish street, guests could make jewelry (the sons of Abraham were always known as skilled craftsmen), play a game of checkers, trumpet a ritual horn - a shofar, leave a note in the Wailing Wall.

A lot of spectators were attracted by the photo exhibition "From Sara to Golda", representing women of Belarus in the images of famous Jewish women.

"It turns out that they were Maya Plesetskaya, Marina Tsvetaeva, Barbara Streisand," looking at the exposition, student Vyacheslav said sharing his observations. "I aAlways admired them, but I did not know about their origin."

And Rabbi Grigory Abramovich knows practically all about famous compatriots and national traditions.

"I come to the Festival every year," he says. " I’m talking about Jewish traditions, the Torah, the laws of Kashrut: the customs of the Jews cause constant interest among Minsk residents."

The center of universal attraction for both adults and children at the Festival was the stage at Fhe Upper City Concert Hall. There were no indifferent people among the audience - they danced, sang along with the artists: community groups from Vitebsk, Mogilev, Lida, young and "golden" age performers.

At 20:30 the evening program began, in which special guests of the Festival took part - the Moscow group Mostov band and Anna Shalyutina. The Festival ended at 22:30.

Photo by Sergey Pozhoga

News provided by Agency "Minsk-Novosti"

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