Friday, February 18, 2011

Jewish Life Returns To Streets Of Ukrainian City Of Lviv

Since 1939 there have been no public celebrations of Jewish life in the streets of Lviv in the Ukraine.  Until last year, that is.  In an effort to revive the Jewish spirit which once ran through the western Ukrainian city, local enthusiasts organized KlezFest, a Jewish folk music festival. Musicians followed a traditional wedding procession through the decorated streets of the old city as actors performed scenes from Jewish life in the 1930s.

According to Wikipedia,
The first known Jewish settlers in Lviv date back to 1256 and became an important part of the city's cultural life, making significant contributions in trade, science and culture. Apart from the Rabbinate Jews there were many Karaite Jews who had settled in the city after coming from the East and from Byzantium. After Casimir III conquered Lviv in 1349 the Jewish citizens received many privileges equal to that of other citizens of Poland.
Lviv had two separate Jewish quarters, one within the city walls and one outside on the outskirts of the city. Each had their separate synagogues, although they both shared a cemetery which was also used by the Karaite community. Before 1939 the city had 97 synagogues.
Before the Holocaust about one third of the city's population was made up of Jews (more than 100,000 on the eve of WWII). In the 1970s the city had over 30,000 Jews. Currently the Jewish population has shrunk considerably as a result of emigration, and to a lesser degree assimilation, and is estimated at 2,000. A number of organizations continue to be active.
Lviv is the city's Ukrainian name.  In Russian it's Lvov, in Polish Lwow, and in German it's Lemberg.  Just in case you were planning to move there, it's interesting to know that in June 2009 the Ukrainian magazine Focus assessed Lviv as the best Ukrainian city to live in.

No comments:

Post a Comment