Monday, April 21, 2014

Passover in Birmingham, AL

       Leslye and I want to thank all at Beth Hallel for their over the top efforts in making our Community Seder last night a huge success. We had over 1,000 people attend, including Chief Justice Moore and Associate Justice Parker of the Alabama Supreme Court, Mayor Bell of Birmingham and many pastors and ministry leaders. One of the key goals of the seder was to bring the body of Messiah together in the Birmingham area and much was achieved in that direction. Worship with Paul Wilbur was awesome and even the men were dancing throughout the ball room. We plan to have a DVD available some time soon so if you want a copy please contact the Beth Hallel offices. And please visit us in person on Friday nights at 7:30 pm or on live stream at Blessings. Rabbi David and Rebbetzin Leslye Schneier

Friday, April 18, 2014

Here's an update on the post about the flyer distributed in Donetsk, Ukraine requiring Jews to register in the new Donetsk Republik. Should be interesting how this is going to be handled, especially since it was reported that someone acknowledged its distribution in the Republik government. I'll keep you posted as this matter develops. Shalom, David Schneier

If this is too large for the post go to,7340,L-4510688,00.html

Donetsk leaflet: Jews must register or face deportation

Fear replaced communal atmosphere in Donetsk's Jewish community as armed men handed out a leaflet Passover eve calling on Jews register their religion and property with the interim pro-Russian government or face deportation and loss of citizenship.
Michal Margalit
Published: 04.16.14, 23:48 / Israel News
A leaflet distributed in Donetsk, Ukraine calling for all Jews over 16 years old to register as Jews marred the Jewish community's Passover festivities Monday (Passover eve), replacing them with feelings of concern.

The leaflet demanded the city's Jews supply a detailed list of all the property they own, or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportion and see their assets confiscated.

Donetsk, a Ukraine province with 4.3 million people - 10 percent of Ukraine's population - and 17,000 Jews, is home to much of the country's heavy industry, and is thus the biggest prize of the eastern regions where pro-Russian separatists have captured government buildings in the past week.

The leaflet, signed by Chairman of Donetsk's temporary government Denis Pushilin, was distrbiuted to Jews near the Donetsk synagogue and later in other areas of the city where pro-Russians activists have declared Donetsk as an independent "people's republic", defying an ultimatum from Kiev to surrender.

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The leaflet was written in Russian and had Russia's national symbol on it, as well as the Donetsk People's Republic insignia.

"Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality," the flyer began, "due to the fact that the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine

supported Bendery Junta," a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement which fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II, "and oppose the pro-Slavic People's Republic of Donetsk, (the interim government) has decided that all citizens of Jewish descent, over 16 years of age and residing within the republic's territory are required to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register."
The leaflet detailed what type of documents the Jewish citizens would need to supply: "ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles."

If the message was not made clear enough, the leaflet further stipulated the consequences that would come to those who failed to abide by the new demands: "Evasion of registration will result in citizenship revoke and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property."

To add insult to injury, the leaflet demanded the Jews pay a registration fee of $50.

The leaflet demanding the Jews to register their nationality or face deportation (Photo: Olga Reznikova)
The leaflet demanding the Jews to register their nationality or face deportation (Photo: Olga Reznikova)
According to Alex Tenzer, a Kiev native and one of the directors of the National Association of Immigrants from the Former USSR in Israel, said: "The Jewish-Ukrainian leadership supports Ukraine's new government, but it's hard to tell whether the leaflet is valid or simply a provocation.

"Anyway, the material is very anti-Semitic and reminds me of the kind of material distributed by the Nazis in WWII."

Emanuelle Shechter, from Israel, received a copy of the leaflet via Whatsapp from his friends in Donetsk. "They told me that masked men were waiting for Jewish people after the Passover eve prayer, handed them the flyer and told them to obey its instructions."

Olga Reznikova, a member of Donetsk's Jewish community, told Ynet that "we do not know if the leaflet was spread by pro-Russian forces or someone else, but it did manage to create quite a fear. This reminds me of texts from darker times. Other members of the Jewish community I spoke with are not afraid, but it is unpleasant.

"I do not intend to register, I am 32, I have lived in Donetsk my entire life and have never had to deal with anti-Semitism until I laid eyes on this piece of paper. Though I take it very seriously, I am uncertain of its authenticity."

Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russians activists in Donetsk (Photo: EPA)
Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russians activists in Donetsk (Photo: EPA)
Jenia from Israel, who also received the letter from a Jewish acquaintance, said "the Jews in Donetsk are uncertain of anything; it is unclear who is responsible for the leaflet and who controls the city at the moment.

"We don't feel safe like we used to because of the political instability in the area; there isn't a legitimate president or sovereign. Currently Donetsk is ruled by a junta."

In a response to a request by a Ukrainian Jewish website, Pushilin, the interim government's regional chairman, confirmed that the flyers were distributed by his organization, but denied any connection to the leaflet's content.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Disturbing report from Eastern Ukraine: Rising anti-Semitism?

   I have just received from one of our Messianic congregations in Ukraine a very disturbing document which appears below from the newly Russian created Donetsk Republic. I asked what it meant and was told the following: "Jewish people must register in the new Donetsk republik. And take all documents for property they own." So much for protecting the rights of the citizens in the new republic. In the Soviet era your passports said that you were either Russian or Jewish as your nationality. Stalin era all over again. Please pray for the Messianic believers in Ukraine. Shalom. David Schneier

Monday, April 7, 2014

On to Ukraine

    As we prepare to travel to Ukraine on April 26th to encourage IAMCS Messianic Jewish congregations from all over the country who will gather in Odessa, we ask you to pray for our travels and the right words and acts of encouragement for such a time as this. There are some reports of new unrest in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border. All of this agitation for "independence" in eastern Ukraine and Crimea is instigated by President Putin in his quest to regain Eastern Europe. In the midst of this potential civil war and drawing in of the EU and the US, we hope to be a ray of hope to believers whose lives have been disrupted by worldly and demonic powers who want to bring down freedoms won over 20 years ago. (See link at )

   During our trip we will host a banquet for survivors of the Holocaust and visit and minister to orphans with heart disease issues. These are great opportunities to be a  blessing and you are invited to be part of our next leadership conference in Ukraine in October, 2014. We also will be helping to lead a Messianic Jewish leadership conference for western Europe, sponsored by the IAMCS and our member congregation near Brussels, in late May, 2014. It's no too late to consider joining us in Belgium. Please contact us if you are interested in that gathering by writing me at

   Any contributions for Ukraine relief can be sent to Rabbi David Schneier, c/o Beth Hallel Birmingham, 2230 Sumpter St. Birmingham, Al 35226. Your checks should be made payable to Beth Hallel Birmingham. As always, your contributions are tax deductible and no fees will be deducted by Beth Hallel to support our humanitarian aid to Ukraine other than the cost of the wires charged by our financial institutions. Please indicate on your contributions that the gift is for "Ukrainian relief." Gifts can also be made by credit or debit cards and by Paypal on our website at under the donation button. After you fill out the financial information, on the next page you can indicate the purpose for the gift. There you can enter "Ukrainian relief."

   Thanks so much for your prayers and sowing into relief for Ukraine. Love and Shalom from David & Leslye Schneier.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Live on WDJC in Birmingham

     Tomorrow, April 4th, Leslye and I will be on WDJC radio (93.7 FM) at 6:30-7:30am on the Roxanne and Chris show. We'll be be discussing our 40 years in the Messianic Jewish movement, our move after 18 years from Europe to Birmingham, Al and our upcoming Community Passover Seder at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center. Shalom, David and Leslye Schneier

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A photo from long ago

     Here is a snap shot of me and our four kids maybe 33 years ago. I would have been 31. This is a staged shot but maybe some would believe we were a farming family in the 1930's. Leslye was the photographer no doubt. We could fill a museum with all of our photos especially if we printed all of the digital ones! Shalom, David Schneier

Calm before the storm? Some words from Ukraine.

      Another touching communique from Odessa, Ukraine. We will be there in late April, God willing. Pray for  and encourage the believers in Ukraine. Shalom, David Schneier

"Shalom Rabbi David!
      I began to write less because the news in the country and the city is not much. The country lives a bit in unstable condition. Mobilization suspended, at least in Odessa. Life goes on, and no significant changes are observed, in addition slightly increased the prices of food products. But it is not critical, so there was no panic or discontent in the society. People live their lives, but there is pretty tight news from the border of Ukraine and Russia. There are going more and more military forces from Russian side. Putin has said that they will not attack the Ukraine, and we so want to believe! But we know all too well how much are the words of this man! And we are pray before going to sleep that at night was no attack.
Your prayers are very much help us! Confidence in the prayer support from your side gives strength for me to believe in happy future! Thank you very much!!!