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  Petropavlovsk city has a school where members of the Jewish community have been meeting and celebrating all national holidays for many years. On September 8 the celebration of Rosh-ha-Shannah was held there.

  The meeting was opened by the President of the Jewish Cultural National Center Mark Vitkin. He wished the guests Happy and Sweet New Year. Then the director of the community center Svetlana Makarovskaya read greetings from Jewish organizations in Kazakhstan and other countries sent to the Northern Kazakhstani Diaspora.

  Loud and drawling sounds of Shofar announced the beginning of Rosh-ha-Shannah. Lev Kuntarovsky said blessing over the candles and they were lit. Apples with honey and pomegranates on the tables looked very appetizingly.

  A fish's head - the indispensable attribute of Rosh-ha-Shannah celebration - rose above other dishes. When the "Tashlich" ceremony was being performed everybody was eager to "throw" his or her sins into vessels with water that had to be poured to the running water afterwards. New Year songs sung by "Shalom" group raised the guests' spirits.
It is obvious that Jewish Tradition is putting down roots in Northern Kazakhstani region. Thus, for example, Tzedaka (a box for donations) was not set aside. It was so touching to watch infants hardly walking yet, but already stretching their hands with coins to do their share for charity.

  Further events were a real surprise for the guests. Jewish Community and Religious centers of Petropavlovsk city finally prepared and held the Jewish wedding ceremony. Building of huppah and appearance of the bride together with her mother and her bridegroom's mother created a furore. After signing the ktubah (marriage contract) there appeared witnesses, the fiance with his father and his bride's father.

  Sergey Shumyachkin and Ksenya Nevyantseva (she is Ksenya Shumyachkina now) became the first Petropavlovsk couple of the XXI century married in accordance with the Jewish Tradition. Having handed the bride a bunch of flowers and pulled down her bridal veil, the groom took her to the huppah where Lev Kuntarovsky was waiting for them with his assistant Igor Zhigarlovsky. Before joining her bridegroom, the fiancee walked round the huppah seven times along with her mother and her future mother-in-law. Then there was a culmination - kiddushin ceremony. Blessing over the wine was said, the groom's father gave him a glass to drink, then the bride took the glass from her mother and sipped. After that the fiance put the wedding ring on the fiancee's forefinger. Then the ktuba was read and the groom gave it to the bride with his right hand.

  It was a turn for seven blessings. They were said by the most respected people of the community: Jacob Rippin, Zyama Girshyk, Efim Kleinerman, Boris Zayants, Ilya Raitsynov, Nuhim Slavutsky, Ruzya Linkov.

  The glass of wine was filled again and given to the groom. He drank half of it and the bride drank the rest. After that in memory of destruction of the Temple the fiance broke the glass with his right foot. Everybody cheered: "Mazal Tov!" In closing of kiddushin ceremony "Shalom" group sang Jewish folk song "Ver Ich Mir Ahosn" ("I Have Become a Groom"). As it should be at a wedding the married couple left the hall in a round dance to the accompaniment of a fascinating Jewish folk song "Lomir Tangen Ashemene".

  The last event of the festival was an interesting cognitive quiz on the theme of Jewish Tradition. The winners got prizes.

  The guests were leaving with glad and contended look. "Happy and Sweet New Year!" - sounded from everywhere.

Svetlana Makarovskaya

Blouing the Shofar
Under the huppah
Jewish wedding
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