500 rabbis gather at summit in Moscow, rabbi Lazar says situation with anti-semitism in Europe critical

Moscow, August 22, Interfax – A total of 500 rabbis from over 30 European countries arrived at the Moscow Jewish Community Center in Moscow’s Maryina Roshcha District to discuss the issues of the development of Jewish community life and fight against anti-semitism in Europe, the press service of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) said on Monday.

“The very fact that such a large-scale conference of rabbis is being held in our country suggests positive changes, which happened in Russia in the past decade. Owing to the stringent policy of the country’s government against any manifestation of anti-semitism, this occurrence becomes marginal. The religious communities are carrying out vigorous educational and spiritual activities in all populated localities in the country, not only in its major cities,” Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar said in his speech at the event.

The state is returning religious property to believers, new churches instead of the ones destroyed in the last century are being built every year, the ties between the representatives of the traditional religions are developing, Lazar said.

“Unfortunately, it is not like that in Europe. We often witness misunderstanding, open enmity and clearly anti-semitic outbursts. The situation is so critical that many Jewish people living in Europe are seriously considering emigration,” he said.

In these conditions it is important to provide European Jews with spiritual support and share experiences with them, the rabbi said.

The large-scale European Rabbis Summit started its work in Moscow on Sunday.

In the next few days the rabbis will visit Smolensk, Lubavichi in the Smolensk region, Liozna and Liady in Belarus, as well as Almaty. They will visit graves of the righteous people related to the Hasidism history and participate in collective prayers and solemn events.

The conference’s work in Moscow will continue in the territory of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, where the Jewish leaders will have an opportunity to see a unique collection of books from the renowned Schneerson library at the branch of the Russian State Library. The delegation will also attend the Zhukovka Jewish religion and cultural center in the Moscow region. The forum’s final session will take place in the Moscow Jewish Community Center on August 25.

The participants of the conference, which is being organized under the aegis of the FJCR and the Chief Rabbinate of Russia, will discuss the measures on countering terrorism, the problems of anti-semitism in Europe, the state of the Jewish communities in Russia and abroad, the consequences of the ‘open doors’ policy for the refugees in the EU, as well as the issues of carrying out the interethnic and interfaith dialogue.

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