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December 19, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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December 19, 2003

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PAGE 12 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 19, 200~ By L~ Krichevsky camps and was active in the local Hillel youth group, friends MOSCOW (JTA)--Igor said. Akimov decided to skip his first His friends and teachers were class Tuesday morning and in- devastated when they learned stead start the day with his late Tuesday afternoon that second one. Akimov was among the casual- That turned out to be a fatal ties of the attack, the second choice for Akimov, a Jewish Moscow blast blamed on fe- history major, male suicide bombers from Akimov, 18, exited asubway Chechnya in the past seven station in downtown Moscow months. at 10:50 a.m 10 minutes be- In July, two bombers killed fore his class--and just as a 15 and injured 60 when they blast rocked the entrance to a blewthemselvesupatanopen- posh hotel he was passing, air rock festival at a Moscow Akimov was killed instantly airfield. along with four other victims, Tuesday'sterroristblew her- in addition to a female suicide self up outside the entrance to bomber, the National Hotel, just a few Fourteen passers-by were hundred yards from the Krem- injured, lin and the Russian Parliament Akimov was a freshman at building, whichmayhavebeen Moscow State University'sCen- the intended targets. ter for Jewish Studies and Jew- Despite the proximity of the ish Civilization, which is lo- school to the blast site, classes cated near the site of the at- went on as usual. tack. "I called his cell. There was He graduated from Jewish no answer," said Yulia day school in his native Gotzkokozik, Akimov's class- Uzbekistan and moved to Mos- mate, her eyes full with tears. cow this fall to attend college She and Akimov had a lot in and was one of 23 freshman at common. Both grew up in thefive-year-oldcenter, opened Tashkent, the capital of the in collaboration with former Soviet republic of Jerusalem's Hebrew University Uzbekistan. It was only in Mos- at the downtown campus of cow, where they lived in the Moscow State University. same dormitory, that they In Tashkent, Akimov hadlearned they were distant rela- been deeply involved in Jewish tives. life. One of the brightest stu- After school on Tuesday, dents at the Or Avner Jewish when students came back to day school, he went to Jewish their dormitory on the out- among five victims photo by Lev Krichevsky/JTA Students atF~r a quickly produced poster in memory of Igor Akimov, who died in a Moscow suicide bombing, Nov. 9, 2003, at Moscow State University's Center for Jewish Stud- ies and Jewish Civilization. skirts of Moscow, they discov- ered that Akimov was missing. They turned on the TV and heard a report on the incident, but police and medical sources had misspelled Akimov's last name as Aripov, and his friends decided it wasn't him. "There was a sigh of relief," Gotzkokozik said. Only later did they discover the mistake. "He was such a joyful person and very easy to get alongwith," Gotzkokozik said. David Rozenson, who works with Moscow's Jewish commu- nity, said he met Akimov in July while the two were attend- ing a Jewish studies confer- ence in the Uzbek town of Samarkand. Rozenson recalled how he took a walk with Akimov through Samarkand's ancient Jewish quarter. "I have rarely met someone who was as enthusiastic and serious about Jewish studies as By Moira Schneider CAPE TOWN (JTA)--It's not clear if his country's Jews will ever need the favor, but at least Festus Mogae will have a sho- he was. He really was a very special kid. He told me his dream was to become a profes- sor in Jewish history," Rozenson said. Akimov was on his way to- ward that goal, having won a full-tuition scholarship and a special stipend for his studies from the Jewish Agency for Is- rael. Even before Akimov's death became known, all major Rus- sian Jewish leaders had con- demned the bombing. "Like all Russians, Jews are expecting that the authorities would successfully fight ter- rorism that is killing both Jews and non-Jews," said Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the Russian Jewish Congress. Many drew parallels between the Moscow blast and acts of terrorism taking place around the world. "This attack was even more terrible when you don't know where it will happen next time--in Jerusalem, in Mos- cow or in New York," said BorUch Gorin, spokesman for For Sara and Miriam, Israel is home. Their parents home for generations to come. They are the future of settled in the Negev over 30 years ago. Sara and Miriam Israel. And they need your help now. know everything there is about this region. Except for one JNF has been the caretaker of the land of Israel on thing. How can they continue living here without behalf of Jewish people everywhere for over a century. water? A 12-year drought has ravaged Israel, especially the JNF's water projects have significantly increased Negev. Unless water is provided soon, Sara, Miriam and Israel's water resources through reservoir and dam young people like them will not be able to call it home construction, river rehabilitation, water conservation much longer, and recycling. But much more still needs to be done. We Jewish National Fund has pledged to build 75 can do it. All we need is for you to do your part. Please life-austaining reservoirs throughout Israel and the give generously. Together, we can make the desert Negev, so young families can continue calling Israel bloom and our people flourish. To donate, call your local JNF office at 1-888-JNF-O099 or visit Or mail your contribution to: JNF, Israel Forever Campaign, 42 East 69th St New York, NY 10021 Name Phone -- s== JNF, for ] Update me on JNF activities. E-mail me at L oonauo $ rTC.eckeo o. o ch= n y:D SADMa=e D=EXD0=o Acct.# ~ Exp. date Signature www.jnf-or8 I-'lPlease send meinformation about including JNF in my will. ~ I-IPlease designate my donation to JNF's critical water projects in Israel. i --- ~.~"~ Contril~tionsarelax-deductible. blast the Federation of Jewish Corn- munities of Russia. ' Are Jews know too what is terrorism,"Berel Lazar, one of Russia's two chief rab- bis, said in a statement. "Rus. sia is facing the same threat that our people in Israel haV had to fight for decades." Akimov's body will be flown to Uzbekistan for burial later this week. Since Akimov did not have a Russian passport, it remains unclear whether his parents who live in Uzbekistan--will receive compensation the citY of Moscow is paying to victims' families. But a Jewish group saidit would help the family. Motya Chlenov, director of the Moscow office of the World Congress of Russian Jewry, said his group will provide financial help to Akimov's parents. The money will be taken out of a fund established earlier this year to help young Russian raelis who have suffered injuri~ and psychological trauma fro Palestinian terrorist attacks. community g far to lend for High Holiday services. The African Jewish Congress, which was in Botswana to meet with constituents, also metwith Mogae, Botswana's president, and presented him with the ram's horn. The AJC, which is affiliated with the World Jewish Congress, was founded by the South Afri- can Jewish Board of Deputies in 1992 to look after the interests of the small and far-flung Jew- ish communities of sub-Sa- haran Africa. The makeup of Botswana's 70-person Jewish community-- tains close relations with Mog and his government, as well with the parliamentary oppo~" tion. Botswana Jews hold religio services in aspecially desig room in Gaborone s only fullY kosher home, but the comrnO" nity is keen to build a syr " gogue.At the meeting, Goldber and Lyons asked that land be given to the community for purpose, and Mogae said government would consider the request. As the visit to the presiderlt took place on World AIDS DaY, much of the discussion cen" the youngest organized Jewish " tered on community in Africa, and the only growing one--has changed considerably over the years. At one time it consisted largely of transient Israelis. To- day, the majority are former South Africans who have made their homes in the capital city of Gabomne, largely due to finan- cial incentives provided by the government and its "zero toler- ance" attitude to crime. At the ' ery cordial" Dec. 1 meeting, AJC President Mervyn Smith told Mogae that the group felt it was important to ask Afri- can leaders to stand solidly against terrorism and to be vigi- lant against attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions. "The president assured us that combating terrorism was a on the disease. Botswana the world's highest known of HIV-AIDS infection, wiw around 33 percent of the popg" lation affected. "I congratulated the preg" dent on their very progresS program to combat AIDS, Smith said. Mogae went into detail the country's policies, the dilP" culties they have with AIDS .or] phans and mother-to-cbiJU transmission of the infecti0 and other issues, Smith said. Smith said the communiff did not appear to be concer about the future of Jewish life Botswana, and "in fact wentOU of their way to say that the rela" tions between them and cal Muslim community priority of his country, that the very good." Jewish community had always Thecommunitydoesn'tl been held in high regard in its own rabbi, so Rabbi Mos . Botswana and that his govern- Silberhaft, the AJC's South ment would not tolerate any rica-based spiritual ieader, form of anti-Semitism," Smith ciates at life cycle events. told JTA upon his return to performed a bat mitzvah South Mri,day before the AJC visit. Botswana s government en- Silberhaft and MurraY. joys good relations with Israel, Simon, an American who partlybecausemanyofits mem- in Botswana to assist with bershaveattendedvarioustrain- cational projects, were respOg ing courses in the Jewish state, sible for getting organized In addition, an agreement was ish life off the ground at reached with Israel in 1995 un- beginning of the 1990s. der which Israeli agricultural Their advertisement in experts are helping to develop Gaborone press asking "rn Botswana'slargelybarrendesert yan makers" to contact tl .p' land. elicited an encouraging r!, Also attending the meeting sponse. Before long, a com. were Botswana businessman nitynewsletter, regularservi Michael Goldberg and Richard and social events were up *'" Lyons, the only Jew who is cur- running. . rentlya"Motswana,'orfullciti- Today, Botswana's JeW!~ zen of the country, community is one of the I ~ A prominent lawyer who re- where he has been reouired. cently was appointed honorary officiate only at celebratory I~~ consul for Israel, Lyons main- cycle events, Silberhaft notea' Forestr Water Community Development Security Education Research Tourism & Recreation