March 8, 2007
Love among many splendored things at Baltics Limmud
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Adds Margarita, 22: "In our daily lives we live among Lithuanians, so it's good to have opportunities to remind yourself that you're Jewish and share the Jewish spirit."
For others, it was less a reminder than an eye opener.
Daniel Ciser, 15, was experiencing his first Limmud, joined by his uncle, David, a store owner in Riga. The Latvian pair said they are frequent travel companions, as Daniel's father -- David's brother -- is busy running his hotel in Riga.
On this occasion, the Cisers sat in on lectures on the Holocaust and the history of Jewish business, which resonated with Daniel. He says he plans to enter the family business.
"I'm interested in all Jewish subjects," Daniel said, "but also in meeting other Jews, making friends and learning about how they live in the Baltics."
As the weekend progressed and the faces became more familiar, the atmosphere warmed, lending credence to the notion of a family weekend.
In fact, at least one set of long-separated kin actually found each other.
Yair Kamaisky, an Israeli lecturer on Jewish cultural diversity, was born in Latvia and immigrated to Israel in 1971 at age 11. After one of his lectures, a middle-aged woman from Riga approached him.
"You know that we're relatives?" she asked Kamaisky.
It turns out that she's married to a distant relative.
"It was nice," Kamaisky said. "If and when I come back, I think we'll meet.
"A lot of people here really have known each other for years. It's a real sense of community," he said.
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