Iceland: Jewish community flies in rabbi for new year

With only about 100 Jews in Iceland, they can't support a synagogue - so it seems they'll be flying in a rabbi to preside over new year celebrations.

Last year, 50 people - half the community - reportedly gathered for the Rosh Hashanah service that marks the first day of the Jewish calendar. And the American who leads the services has been talking of his hopes of beating that next month. Berel Pewzner, from New York, told the US daily Forward newspaper he first travelled there in 2011: "I've always been fascinated with Jewish life in remote and unique locations around the globe... So when I came across Iceland, a country that seemed to have few Jews but a vibrant model of modern Jewish community, I was intrigued."

Judaism has yet to obtain official religious status in Iceland and this year Pewzner conducted the country's first Passover meal to be held fully in accordance with kosher food rules. Today's Jewish population is made up of immigrants, most prominently Israeli-born Dorrit Moussaieff, who's married to President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson. Meanwhile, Jews elsewhere will unwittingly remember Iceland at Rosh Hashanah. The holiday staple of herring is one of the country's main exports.

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