Hundreds of Former Soviet Jews Gather to Celebrate Heritage

June 7, 2012  

Some 400 Jews have gathered in the former Soviet republic of Moldova for a festival to celebrate the Jewish heritage of the former Soviet countries, The Associated Press reported.

The four-day conference, which began Thursday, will include artists, scientists and musicians from Israel, the United States and the former Soviet republics.

Approximately 20,000 Jews currently live in Moldova.

More than 60,000 Jews from Moldova were murdered at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust and on the orders of Romanian fascist wartime leader Ion Antonescu.

Thousands of Jews emigrated to Israel after 1948, including Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who was born in Chisinau.

Moldova was formerly part of Romania, but the Soviet Union took control of it in 1944.

The conference is organized by Limmud FSU, an organization that fosters and promotes Jewish education and identity. 

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