May 13, 2014

Odessa Kosher Programs Continue Despite Disturbances

ODESSA — Disturbance in the Ukrainian port city two weeks ago temporarily closed the main shul here. Rumors were rampant that an evacuation plan was being hammered out and that Jews feared for their life. Sources told KosherToday that life appears to have returned to normal. The main synagogue’s kosher grocery store and restaurant were functioning as usual. 

Unlike what was happening in Kiev, Orthodox Jews were not hiding their Jewishness. Rafael Kruskal, one of the leaders of Tikva which runs the Jewish schools and programs for the elderly said that there was no reason for concern. Odessa has two kosher restaurants, several kosher stores, two yeshivas and two mikvehs. Even the local kosher kiosk seems to be operating as usual. Jewish leaders here are convinced that the worst may be behind them. They consider the local populace friendlier than places like Kiev or some of the other Ukrainian cities. Odessa has become a major hub for kosher as local organizations serve thousands of kosher meals to their network of Jewish schools, daycare centers and nursing games.