Preparation for the Seder in Moldova
Preparation for the Seder in MoldovaMoldovan Jewish community

80 years after the destruction of the Jewish communities in the pro-Russian Transnistria region in Moldova, a public Seder will be held this evening according to tradition.

The Jewish community in Transnistria numbers several thousand Jews, with most concentrated in the republic's capital, Tiraspol. Also, in other cities such as Dubasari, Rybnitsa, Bendery, and others, Jewish life has been developing in recent years.

The Republic of Transnistria is a small region in the eastern part of Moldova, bordering Ukraine. It is inhabited by just over half a million people, of whom about 220,000 have Russian citizenship.

The republic declared its independence from Moldova in 1992 with Moscow's support, following a civil war triggered by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, it has not been recognized by any state entity.

Over the years, many Jews from Transnistria have celebrated Passover together with the Jewish community in Chisinau led by Moldova's Rabbi Pinchas Zaltzman.

This year, against the backdrop of deteriorating relations with Moldova, the Jewish community decided to conduct the first public Seder night in the separatist republic.

In the past month, the local parliament even appealed to Russia for assistance against what they claim is an economic siege conducted by Moldova.

With the assistance of Moldova's Rabbi Pinchas Zaltzman, large quantities of meat, wine, matzah, and kosher food for Passover were sent. To honor the festival, several families from Israel came to make the kitchens kosher for Passover and to conduct the first public Seder of Transnistria, which will be held at the synagogue in Tiraspol. Jews from other cities in the separatist region are also expected to participate in this historic Seder night.

"We are very excited about the event," says Yuri Kreichman, president of the Jewish community in Transnistria. "Our grandfathers and grandmothers once got to see a real Seder night here in Tiraspol, and now we are renewing the tradition. We feel like we are experiencing our own local exodus to freedom. We have great help and support from the community in Chisinau, and Rabbi Zaltzman is guiding us to celebrate the first public Seder night properly."

"This is a significant milestone in the development of the Jewish community here," emphasizes Rabbi of Moldova, Rabbi Pinchas Zaltzman. "In recent years, Judaism in Moldova has experienced an unprecedented flourishing."

"Despite the efforts made by the Communists for decades, today even in Transnistria weekly Torah lessons and Jewish activities that include cultural events and festivals take place, and now we have reached a moment unlike any in 80 years."