'Spice girl' wows Odessa
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The spice box that was returned to Odessa
When Bertha Pogrebinsky left Odessa 100 years ago, a silver havdalah box was among treasured possessions she took with her.
Now the spice box has been returned to the Odessa community by her granddaughter Sue Finer during a fact-finding trip to the city by 11 Edgware Reform Synagogue members.
The party visited Edgware's newly-twinned community of Temple Emanu-el, which in 11 years, has grown from 20 members to more than 300. Leaders want to open a kindergarten and reclaim the stunning Brody Synagogue building, which is now a government archive.
Edgware Reform's Rabbi Danny Smith joined the Progressive Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, Alexander Dukhovny, in officiating at a Shabbat morning service.
"It was very moving to see Judaism coming back to life in a city that once enjoyed such a vibrant and varied Jewish existence," Rabbi Smith observed.
The spice box was presented to Rabbi Dukhovny, along with a shofar and a leather-bound siddur.
Ms Finer said it would have given her grandmother "great pleasure to have a little piece of her life back in beautiful Odessa".