Brief history of the community: Total population of the country: 4,1 mln
Jewish history in the territory of Moldova starts in XIV century. During the Soviet times Moldova had the biggest percentage of Jewish population (over 10% of the total population). Today there are about 10,000 Jews living in Moldova. Most of the Jewish population lives in Kishinev, Beltsy and Transnistria region.
There are 2 Jewish day schools in Kishinev with more than 700 students and 1 Jewish kindergarten.
Every year over 300 children, teenagers and students participate in the Jewish Agency summer and winter camp programs.
Moldova is the only Former Soviet Union republic where Yiddish literature is still being published and read.
Camps 2012: One of the sessions this summer was organized as a camp-on-wheels. Campers did not stay at one site but travelled around the country, visiting places with rich Jewish history and connecting to their Jewish heritage through that. Moldova has a lot of Jewish sites to visit and there were no boring days throughout the whole session.
In their own words:
Egor, 25 years old, counselor: I was born here in Kishinev and thanks to my parents and grandparents me and my sister always knew that we were Jewish and Jewish tradition was always part of our education. But in my first Jewish Agency summer camp I learnt that this was not true for most of the campers. Then I decided to become a counselor and to help more youth connect to their Jewish heritage through this great experience of summer camp.
When I was offered to work in the camp-on-wheels I did not hesitate a moment. I liked that we did not just learn and have fun but also saw Jewish history (cemeteries, old synagogues etc.). After Shabbat ceremony we decided that we want to make an impact and in a village (former shtettle Vadul Rashkov) we cleaned the abandoned Jewish cemetery and catabolized all the names of people buried there. In winter we will present a book dedicated to the history of the shtettle with our pictures. Our community has a great history and I want as many people as possible to be proud of it!
Natasha, 18 years old: The best in the whole camp was Shabbat. Before that we travelled around for 3 days and already knew each other and saw a lot. For Shabbat we stayed in one of the villages. We were offered to stay for the night in the local school but we all decided to stay in tents. We prepared for Shabbat, cooked for ourselves and even made all the dishes Kosher. For me it was the first time cooking Kosher meal. In camps we always eat Kosher but cooking was something more than that. I recalled my grandmother cooking on Friday morning for our family dinner. We prayed and sang and it was just the best Shabbat I’ve ever had!