25.12.2010 18.Tevet, 5771
Across the vast expanses of the taiga and tundra of Siberia, Jewish communities are experiencing a rebirth.
TOMSK, Russia – It’s an unusually warm midwinter’s night in central Siberia, only minus 8º Celsius, or so I’m told as I shiver in my thermal underwear and my fingers grow increasingly numb in my thermal gloves. Up above, Rabbi Berel Lazar, the state-recognized chief rabbi of Russia, and businessman Lev Leviev, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia (FJC), are on a platform suspended 10 meters in the air trying to light a giant hanukkia placed outside Tomsk’s newly renovated Choral Synagogue. The wind and subzero temperatures make the task exceedingly difficult; three matches are extinguished before the flame finally takes hold….