Weekly News Update 
WASHINGTON, D.C. April 21, 2017

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties
FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO

Dear Friend,

Please see below for this week's stories.

Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Washington, D.C. April 21, 2017

Chabad rabbi beaten in Ukraine dies of injuries 6 months after attack
JTA, April 16, 2017

A Chabad rabbi who was severely beaten six months ago at a train station in the western Ukrainian city of Zhitomir has died.

Rabbi Mendel Deitsch was 64. He died in Israel where he was airlifted and treated following the attack days after Rosh Hashanah, which he spent in the Ukrainian town of Haditch, the resting place of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad-Lubavitch. He was robbed of his cell phone and money and beaten at the train station, and was not discovered until hours later, suffering from multiple head injuries and brain trauma.

Moscow Limmud sees record enrollment of 2,500
JTA, April 14, 2017

A record 2,500 people signed up for this year’s Limmud conference on Jewish learning in Moscow.

Attendance this year at the main event organized by Limmud FSU – an international organization putting together Jewish events in the former Soviet Union — exceeded last year’s tally by 25 percent, organizers said in a statement Thursday. The event is scheduled to take place next week for the 11th consecutive year.

Read the full article here.

Moscow Jewish Community to Gather for Festival Despite US/Russia Tensions
Jewish Voice, April 20, 2017

Despite high tensions between the United States and Russia, Moscow’s Jewish community will gather for the largest-ever festival for Russian-speaking Jews in the former Soviet Union. More than 2,500 will attend Limmud FSU’s 11th conference in Moscow, April 20-23.

Keynote speakers at the conference will include Russia’s chief rabbi, Berel Lazar and Israel’s minister of justice, Ayelet Shaked. The event will include more than 250 workshops, roundtables and activities for children, and 12 lectures each hour on topics ranging from Jewish history, to politics, to cooking, and more.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising anniversary remembered
Radio Poland, April 19, 2017

Events around the Polish capital on Wednesday marked the 74th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło and other leading politicians, including the head of the opposition Civic Platform party Grzegorz Schetyna, attended commemorations at the site of the former Ghetto.

Read the full article here.

Warsaw Jews bury old Torahs on ghetto uprising anniversary
AFP/Times of Israel, April 20, 2017

Warsaw’s Jewish community on Wednesday held a burial of damaged Torah scrolls in the Polish capital, an ancient ritual that some believe had not been carried out since the war.

Poland’s chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich said the meaning of the ceremony was “about remembering that for us the Torah scroll is so important, is so holy, that when it’s no longer usable we bury it as if it was a human being.”

Warsaw: Israeli ambassador to Poland presents Righteous Among the Nations medal
By Becca Noy
Jerusalem Online, April 20, 2017

On Thursday, Israeli Ambassador to Poland Anna Azari presented Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations of the World medals in Poland. Among the recipients were Witold Topolewski and Salomea Jelinowska, whose parents risked their lives to save Jewish people during the Holocaust.

Read the full article here.

Hungary remembers Holocaust victims amid calls for tolerance
AP/Times of Israel, April 17, 2017

Thousands of Hungarians have taken part in a march remembering the 550,000 Hungarian Jews who died during the Holocaust. The March of the Living on Sunday was held on Hungary’s national Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the mass detention and deportation of Hungary’s Jews in 1944.

Read the full article here.

Israeli, Russian Prosecutors Sign Cooperation Agreement
JewishPress, April 19, 2017

Russia’s Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika and his Israeli counterpart Shai Nitzan met in Jerusalem last week to sign a memorandum on cooperation between the two departments, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office reported.

The memorandum defines the main areas of cooperation between the two parties: protection of human rights and freedoms, and countering crime, terrorism, extremism, and illegal trafficking in weapons and drugs.

Read the full article here.

Russian Journalist, Putin Critic Dies After Severe Beating
RFE/RL, April 19, 2017

A prominent Russian journalist known for articles criticizing Russian government and President Vladimir Putin has died in St. Petersburg after being severely beaten by unknown assailants.

Nikolai Andrushchenko, a 73-year-old co-founder of the newspaper Novy Petersburg, was attacked on March 9 and had been unconscious since then.

Read the full article here.

Russian court bans Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist
Reuters, April 20, 2017

Russia's Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Jehovah's Witnesses were an "extremist" organization and must disband and hand over all property to the state, local media said. The religious grouping confirmed the ruling about its "liquidation" in Russia.

Read the full article here.

Russian University Screens Film Telling Students That Navalny Is Hitler 2.0
Moscow Times, April 19, 2017

The most recent protests were more than three weeks ago, but Russian educators are still bending over backwards to warn their pupils about the dangers of joining Alexei Navalny’s nationwide anti-corruption movement.

Read the full article here.

Romania intends to buy Patriot missiles from U.S. to boost defenses
By Radu-Sorin Marinas
Reuters, April 20, 2017

NATO member Romania plans to buy Patriot missiles from U.S. company Raytheon to help protect its airspace, a senior defense ministry official said on Thursday.

The plan will be a key part of the European Union country's plan to modernize its military, benefiting from a gradual increase in annual spending.

Read the full article here.

Science confirms the incredible story of Lithuania's Holocaust escape tunnel
By Sarah Birnbaum
PRI, April 19, 2017

Every year, the survivors gathered on the last night of Passover to tell the story of their own miraculous escape from bondage to freedom.Their story doesn’t take place in the desert of Egypt but in the killing pits of Lithuania.

Read the full article here.

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Founded in 1971, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.