Seder at Tikva's Platinum Club in Odessa


This year, I was privileged to spend the first night of Seder at Tikva's Platinum Club in Odessa, a newly established cultural center for the city’s young unaffiliated, Jews. Over 90 students and young professionals attended, most of whom had never experienced a Seder. Yet, halfway through, armed police bursted into the room, and amid quite a commotion, we were all told to evacuate the hall immediately.

With everyone outside - safe although terribly shaken - we understood the police were responding to a tip-off about a bomb threat. Immediately, our thoughts turned to the other 23 Seders Tikva had organized around Odessa for the orphans, elderly, and impoverished families in our care. Thankfully, the local authorities acted at once to add security to each institution, including the Platinum Club where we continued our Seder.

The device they found turned out to be a dummy bomb. Despite the ongoing threat of anti-Semitism, these young Eastern European Jews bravely continue to revive their Jewish identity. With programs like Tikva’s Platinum Club and the broad range of community renewal activities spearheaded by Tikva since 1991, Jews in the FSU can rediscover their timeless heritage. Today, however, with a rampant rise of anti-semitism and violence in Europe, Jewish leaders and local authorities must do their utmost to protect those Jews who have stirred up the courage be Jewish.

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