Photo Credit: Yishai Fleisher

 

This is a political poster of Oleksandr Feldman, 53, who is serving his fourth term in the Ukrainian parliament. An industrialist and real-estate mogul, he is founder-president of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee and chairman of a national association of minorities, which defends the rights of over 200 ethnic member organizations in the country. He also wears his kipa in the government and in the poster.
On October 15-16, MP Feldman, along with the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and the Government of Ukraine convened the International Conference on antisemitism on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Beilis Trial.

 

While the commemoration of 100th anniversary of the Beilis Trial gave the backdrop to the conference, there was another purpose to the event: a gathering of the Ukraine’s Jewish leadership to discuss problems and solutions of Ukrainian Jewry. This effort was led by conference organizer Oleksander Feldman (sitting at the head). Watching him relate to the other leaders of the Ukrainian Jewish community gave me a new understanding of the Aramaic term Reish Geluta – the head of Exile, or Exilarch.
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Along with my colleagues (from left), Cnaan Liphshiz of JTA, and Zvika Klein of Maariv/NRG and Makor Rishon, I  (the one with the microphone) got an opportunity to get to know Feldman (see above) and Eduard Dolinsky (the Director General of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee). Feldman is a proud Ukrainian, but he is also a proud Jew and strongly pro-Israel. He told us that every Ukrainian Jew should find a way to serve or contribute to the growth of Israel. At the same time, he believes that today you don’t have to give up your Ukrainian identity to love Israel. With globalism, you can be doing morning business in Kiev and be in Jerusalem by night.

 

On the last day of the conference, we were invited to the Ukrainian Parliament and we sat in the special honorary conference room, right below the main debate floor. Again, the power of change was evident; here was a whole gathering of Jews and non-Jews speaking of the evils of antisemitism under the auspices of the Ukrainian government. On the right of the picture is Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman (Chief Rabbi of Kiev) and Reuven Din El (Israel Ambassador to Ukraine). Later, Israeli MK Rina Frenkel from Yesh Atid addressed the forum.
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Yishai Fleisher is a Contributing Editor at JewishPress.com, Chief Editor at JNi.media, talk-show host, and International Spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, an Israeli Paratrooper, a graduate of Cardozo Law School, and the founder of Kumah ("Arise" in Hebrew), an NGO dedicated to promoting Zionism and strengthening Israel's national character. Yishai is married to Malkah, and they live on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem with their children.

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