Coexistence in Kiev

Anti-Semitism appears to be retreating in Ukraine, home to many horrors of the Holocaust.

August 13, 2012 13:25
1 minute read.

Kiev (R370). (photo credit: REUTERS)


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During the first glorious days of the Ukrainian summer, well-dressed women wearing impossibly high-heeled shoes strolled down the stylish streets of downtown Kiev. Music students sat in front of the famed golden domes of the refurbished St. Michael Monastery singing Ukrainian folk songs as they plucked the strings of the traditional bandores – a wooden lute-like instrument – hoping for a few coins from passing tourists.

And inside the opulent Kiev Intercontinental Hotel in the upscale center of the Ukrainian capital, rabbis, priests, imams, one Buddhist priest and a few hundred lay people of different faiths gathered to discuss the new challenges confronting religions and their role in democracies and secular societies at the Kiev Interfaith Forum’s Second International Faith Conference. Hosted by Ukrainian Member of Parliament Oleksandr Feldman, who is one of the founders of the Forum, the conference was meant to give religious leaders an opportunity to discuss the role of religion in a time of widespread social and political changes.

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For Jewish participants the conference was also a chance to reassess the status of Ukrainian Jews in the land where some of the bloodiest pogroms and Nazi massacres against Jews took place.

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