Stephen Schwager–A Miraculous Post-Soviet Religious Revival

As Jews around the world gather to celebrate Simchat Torah next week””the raucous holiday marking the completion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings””I am reminded of one of the more curious practices among Soviet Jews in the final decades of the Communist regime.

Living under duress, these Jews gathered illegally in homes or even in the streets to celebrate a holiday for an object that most had never seen, let alone read from. Such celebrations persisted despite systematic anti-Jewish persecution by the Soviets, including university quotas, discouragement from certain jobs, and an all-out effort to eradicate Jewish culture and religion.

And yet 20 years after the Soviet Union’s fall, this act of defiance has taken on an entirely different character….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Russia