By Cnaan Liphshiz for JTA
Ukraine (JTA) — Five months into the war that turned him into a refugee
in his own country, Jacob Virin has already attended 20 Jewish weddings
— including those of his son and two other relatives — at the $100
million JCC of Dnepropetrovsk.
Towering over the skyline of this
industrial metropolis, the 22-story Menorah Center is said to be the
largest Jewish community center in Europe and a symbol of the remarkable
Jewish revival here after decades of communist repression.
with eastern Ukraine descending into chaos in recent months, the center
of late has assumed a new symbolism. With one of its two hotels serving
as temporary housing for some of the hundreds of refugees displaced by
fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels, and a recent
mass wedding for 19 Jewish couples held on its roof terrace, the center
has become an emblem of Jewish survival during the current crisis.
than any other single complex, the Menorah Center has empowered the
Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk to better serve as an anchor for
Ukrainian Jewry in difficult times and as an engine for Jewish renewal,”
said Zelig Brez, the community’s director.
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