The Jewish community is feeling comfortable in Russia with anti-Semitic sentiments dropping to a record low, the country’s chief rabbi said, attributing the change to both government efforts and a shift in public opinion.
Speaking at the 7th convention of the Federation of Jewish Communities (FJC) that kicked off in Moscow on Tuesday, Rabbi Berel Lazar noted that the Russian society has become more tolerant over the past two decades.
“Now, thank God, anti-Semitism in Russia is at its lowest level. Recently, Holocaust has been commemorated in Jerusalem. Everyone noted that Jews in Russia feel very comfortable, they openly show their Jewish identity and are respected by the state and the people around them,” Lazar said.
Whereas two decades ago, Russia’s Jews “did not see any perspective” for them in the country and were keen to emigrate, Lazar said, the community is now thriving. Jewish organizations exist in more than 200 cities across Russia and they actively participate in cultural and religious life.
“Each year, a new synagogue or community center, or kindergarten is opened. Everyone agrees that the Russian community is the most active in the world,” the rabbi noted.
The two-day conference brought together Jewish community leaders and rabbis from over 140 Russian cities, as well as representatives of other religions, government officials and public figures. The FJC is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
The FJC made a considerable contribution in fighting xenophobia and extremism, Russia’s new Prime Minster Mikhail Mishustin said in a statement, adding, “It’s important that you firmly resist all attempts to justify the crimes of fascists and revise the results of World War II.”