Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jews in Kabul - 2002

This is a very unusual story that came out of Afghanistan in 2002. It’s a Chanukah story. It’s also a story of division; like that of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s; where no one knows why the trouble started, but neither is anybody going to give in anytime soon.

I save unusual news articles; have for years. I used to keep them tucked into books and crannies; and a couple of nooks here and there. These days I scan them, but every now and again I find one while re-reading a book, or putting my many stacks of papers in order. And I’m almost always pleasantly surprised by what I find.

Not much for me to write here aside from re-capping the story. It’s all in the article above, and I haven’t really got anything to add to it. Basically the story is of two men; both Jews; living in Afghanistan around the time of the American invasion after the events of 9-11.

Ishak Levin; a Persian Jew; pictured above, was 72 years old at the time. As a Jew he was a rarity in Afghanistan at the time. He lived a few doors down from the only other Jew around, Zebulaon Simentov, 42 years old, who hailed from Turkmanistan. The only conversation they would have that years was to ascertain whether or not it was, indeed, the first night of Chanukah.

Then they went off to light their candles separately, with Levin remarking that their families have celebrated Chanukah for thousands of years, but never with Simentov. He claims it is “not possible.”

When you read a story like this you have to wonder if there is any real hope for humanity. Here’s 2 Jews; living in the midst of people who would love nothing more than to see them dead; yet they can’t seem to unite even for one night to pray together.

And if you think this story is good, wait until next week when I post the one about the last Jew living in a small town in China…

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