Two American rabbinical students who arrived in Iceland in search of the country’s Jewish population found a surprising number of them, and believe the need for a synagogue is apparent.
Iceland’s Jewish community, while present, has not always been readily visible. The Grapevine first spoke to two Jewish people in 2004, who asked that their names not be disclosed for fear of losing friends.
Vísir now reports that Berel Pewzner and Mendy Tzfasman, two rabbinical students from the US, recently came to Iceland looking for the Jewish community, and found, to their surprise, nearly a hundred of them.
The two conducted their search by putting in ad in Fréttablaðið, but also by simply walking around town and asking Icelanders if they knew any Jewish people. With time, their list grew to about 90 individuals.
“The state of Jewish people in Iceland is very good,” Pewzner said, adding that the community continues to be vibrant and growing. “We look with bright eyes to the future. We believe this will inevitably lead to the need to build a synagogue in Reykjavík.”
During part of their visit, Pewzner and Tzfasman celebrated the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, with members of the community that they met in Iceland.