Jews meet in Moldova to celebrate heritage

Some 400 Jews have gathered in the former Soviet republic of Moldova for a festival to celebrate the Jewish heritage of the former Soviet countries.

Artists, scientists and musicians from Israel, the United States and the former Soviet republics will attend the four-day conference, which began Thursday in this country of 4.1 million with a population of 20,000 Jews

More than 60,000 Jews died during the Holocaust in Moldova, killed by the Nazis and on the orders of Romanian fascist wartime leader Ion Antonescu. Thousands of Jews emigrated to Israel after 1948, including Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who was born in Chisinau. Moldova was formerly part of Romania, but the Soviet Union took control of it in 1944.

The conference is organized by Limmud FSU, a group that supports and reinforces Jewish education and identity.