'Hidden' Polish Jews Hold Talmud Seminar

By JTA

Published July 30, 2012.

More than 40 ‘hidden Jews’ are expected to participate in a seminar in Poland dedicated to the study of Talmud.

The gathering being held this week at the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva coincides with the completion of the Daf Yomi, the 7 1/2-year cycle of page-a-day Talmud study that was launched by the yeshiva’s founder, Rabbi Meir Shapiro, more than 80 years ago.

Hidden Jews refers to Jews whose families lost all contact with Judaism after the Holocaust and now are returning to the religion and the Jewish people.

Shavei Israel, a group that aims to help descendants of Jews connect with Israel and the Jewish people, is organizing the event.

“The symbolism of this seminar and its location are especially poignant,” Shavei Israel chairman Michael Freund said in a statement. “The Germans and their collaborators sought to snuff out Jewish life and learning. But nearly seven decades after the Holocaust, Jews are once again studying the Talmud at Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin.”

The seminar also aims to strengthen the local Polish Jewish community while reaching out to the hidden Jews throughout the area, many of whom are looking to reconnect with the Jewish people.

“Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, an increasing number of young Poles have begun rediscovering their Jewish roots and expressing a desire to draw closer to Israel and the Jewish people,” Freund said. “It is incumbent upon us to reach out to them and help them to do so.”



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