Stephen Schwartz

Traces of Trotsky, Remnants of a Rebbe: A Hunt for Icons

Democracy took a half-step forward in Kazakhstan when the September 19 parliamentary elections resulted in victory for Otan, the party that supports President Nursultan Nazarbayev and is expected to take seven of the 10 seats in the lower house. True, monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe declared that the election

Philadelphia Story

For someone who has searched out the traces of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, the story is hauntingly familiar: a cemetery “neglected, vandalized, and filled with trash, listed on the City’s roster of abandoned properties,” as the words of a fundraising appeal put it. Nestled among the almost total disarray are toppled memorial stones,

Ex-Soviet Republic Counts Many Critics, Few Friends

The ex-Soviet republic of Uzbekistan is the largest and wealthiest of the core states of Central Asia, and it is home to 23 million citizens, 88% of whom are Muslim. Few Americans can find it — or its capital, Tashkent — on a map, a point that was highlighted in a popular American TV sitcom, “The George Lopez Show,” in which a teenager

Historic Cemetery in Serbia Desecrated

BELGRADE, Serbia — A firestorm of commentary has broken out in the Serbian media, stoked by a former president of the Bosnian Jewish community who is raising an alarm over the desecration of a historic Jewish cemetery in the city of Nis.Ivan Ceresnjes, who served as president of the Jewish community in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war of 1992-95,

Bosnian Leader Championed Religious Pluralism

Alija Izetbegovic, the courtly, avuncular former leader of the Muslim-led Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, died October 19 in Sarajevo, at age 78. His health had been deteriorating in recent weeks, a result of heart disease, and his end was hastened by a bad fall, in which he broke several ribs.Izetbegovic became a global figure following the

Balkan Dreams, Modern Realities; Sarajevo, Center of Sephardism

Of the friends I have made in my Balkan travels, there is nobody alive who is dearer to me, in certain respects, than professor Muhamed Nezirovic´ of the University of Sarajevo. Born in Sarajevo in 1934, in the mixed Muslim and Serb mahala, or neighborhood, of Nadmlini, Hamo — as he is universally known — and his family had strong