In first person: 50th anniversary trip to Russia yields hope

A special thrill about a dozen years ago was going to Kol Nidre services in Prague. The next morning, we went to Yom Kippur services in the Old Synagogue, where the ladies were hidden in the back, peeking through partitions.

We have been to High Holy Day services in Dubrovnik, Croatia; Barcelona, Spain; Avignon and Nice, France; Dublin, Ireland; and London.

We wondered what we would find in Russia. Our rabbi had visited many years earlier, and said his every footstep was shadowed by the KGB. We had no KGB.

We visited the Moscow synagogue mid-week. They showed us around and allowed us to take pictures. We bought a book for our grandson Joshua in the lovely gift shop. They said they held services regularly, and maintained student classes. They were alive and well.

In St. Petersburg, the synagogue seemed even more active and had several school levels. With some reservations, they were optimistic about their future as Jews.

It is quite moving to see that the threads of Jewish life around the world continue to survive.