Macedonia inaugurated a memorial center dedicated to the country's Jewish Holocaust victims. The memorial museum opened Thursday in the capital Skopje, in an area that had been home to many of the hundreds of Jewish Macedonian families.
Students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) were surprised to learn last month that for the first time their professor for a course in contemporary Islam was, in fact, a Muslim. Ismail Bardhi had arrived as a refugee a few weeks before through the college's Scholar Rescue Fund. The former dean of the faculty of Islamic Studies in Skopje, Macedonia, Bardhi was beaten and stripped of his title because he refused to cede to the vision of Kosovar nationalists, who in rising to power were marginalizing secular Muslims and "Islamic humanists" like Bardhi.
During my visit to a refugee camp in Macedonia with a group of 16 American Jews last week, a waif-like girl wearing a dusty black-and-red parka stood on her toes to peer into my notebook.
Soaring above the sea of green and white canvas tents in the dusty, wind-swept Stenkovec refugee camp in Macedonia are a handful of Israeli flags. It is a jarring sight whose incongruity is compounded by the fact that just a stone's throw away are the Germans.