Rosh Hashanah Attack on Synagogue in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

September 13, 2010 / 5 Tishrei 5771

An explosive device was hurled into the courtyard of the synagogue in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (Thursday, Sept. 9). There were no injuries because no one was at the synagogue at the time of the attack, but there was damage to the walls of the synagogue from the shrapnel inside the explosive device, which included metal ball bearings and nails. The Jewish Agency for Israel is following the situation in Bishkek closely and is in touch with Jewish community leaders, standing ready to assist the community with whatever needs may arise.

The former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan went through a period of violent political unrest in April, and since then the situation has been tense for the Jewish community.

The Jewish Agency has been working to provide support to the country's 1,500 Jews, almost all of whom live in the capital Bishkek. During the outbreak of violence in April, the Jewish Agency sent a special emissary to Bishkek to assist the community. Following his visit, twelve community members made aliyah to Israel. Over the summer, the Jewish Agency operated a summer camp, which was run in conjunction with the community's Jewish school. It provided Jewish children in the community with a respite and safe environment, offering classes, activities and field trips.

The attack Thursday marked the second attack on the synagogue in Bishkek; a first attack took place during the period of political violence in April. In the incident over Rosh Hashanah, congregants escaped what could have been lethal harm because they decided earlier to push off the hour of afternoon services, so no one was in the synagogue at the time of the attack. The efficacy of the explosive device was also diminished because, when hurled into the courtyard, it landed in a tub of water that had been prepared for the traditional tashlich service which was about to take place. Kyrgyz police are investigating the incident.

Better days: The Jewish Agency's summer camp in Bishkek this July.

For photos of the damage to the synagogue see


For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Jewish Agency for Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6130220;
Voice-mail: +972-2-620-2780



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13 Sep 2010 / 5 Tishrei 5771 0