The European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESJF) visited the Lomonosov lyceeum in Orhei, Moldova today.
Olga Sivak of the Itzik Manger Jewish library gave a guest lecture to the 11th and 12th grades. Students learned about the history of Orhei’s Jewish community (which dates all the way back to the 17th century), its historical events, people, and most importantly, about local Jewish cemeteries, Jewish burial traditions, and how to read the symbols on old gravestones.
After the lecture students applied what they learned in an activity, dating gravestones based on the symbols they had learned to read. In addition to gaining historical sleuthing skills, the students came away from the event with a newfound appreciation for the history and heritage of their region.
The ESJF conducts educational outreach in Moldova, Ukraine, Slovakia, Greece and Lithuania, and aims to expand its operations throughout Eastern Europe in the upcoming year.