The search of two American rabbinical students for Jews living in Iceland has proven so successful that they now see the need for establishing a community center and eventually a synagogue in the country. Their list now contains more than 90 people.
The Star of David adornes one of the buildings in downtown Reykjavík. Click here to read about its story. The photo was taken by a reader from Israel.
“We are very satisfied with the results,” one of the students, Berel Pewzner, told Fréttabladid. He and his partner, Mendy Tzfasman visited Iceland for two weeks last April. “I’m certain there are more and so we will continue our search.”
Pewzner and Tzfasman walked around town, popped into stores and asked people whether they knew of any Jews living in Iceland. The initial result was a list of 40 people. They also published an article in the newspaper, asking people to contact them.
“We asked all these people to point out other individuals, searched the internet and the article in Fréttabladid was a big help—many people contacted us after it was published,” Pewzner said. “And so the group grew, slowly but surely.”
Pewzner has been in Iceland for the past weeks and at the end of September he organized hours of prayer for the Jewish community in Iceland on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Other celebratory feasts and smaller events have also been held.
Pewzner and Tzfasman have also taught people about Judaism. “We teach Torah, Talmud and Kabbalah and how the message of the rites is connected with our daily lives. We also look at current events from the viewpoint of Judaism,” Pewzner said.
“The position of Judaism in Iceland is very good and we are hopeful about the future,” he added. “We can sense that there is a definite need for a community center and a synagogue in Reykjavík.”
The pair has also traveled to other countries on similar quests.