In the framework of the powerful and unprecedented EuroStars voyage to Turkey, hundreds of Jewish students from across Russia, visited this Tuesday the Grand Synagogue of Istanbul for an exciting ceremony and acquaintance with Turkish Jewry.
As previously reported, the trip is organized by the ‘YAHAD’ organization, operating within the framework of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS – FJC, and is taking place on a huge luxury liner sailing from the shores of Sochi, Russia, and docking in Istanbul.
On Tuesday, an exciting and significant event for both the Jews of Istanbul and the students took place. All the rabbis of the Jewish community of Istanbul gathered at the Great Synagogue of Istanbul together with many members of the local community.
The event was organized by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Chitrik, the Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi community in Turkey and the chairman of the Alliance of Rabbis in the Islamic States (ARIS), together with dominant local figures and leaders.
One of the leaders of the Istanbul community opened by relating the history of the synagogue and the three terror attacks that were carried out there. After which, the students excitedly welcomed the Chief Rabbi to Turkey – the ‘Chachim Bashi’ – Rabbi Yitzhak Haliva who entered together with the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar.
Rabbi Haliva spoke about the fact that the younger generation is the future of the Jewish nation and that when there is a young generation of Jews who are proud of their Judaism – this is the most important thing. He also elaborated on the importance of studying the Torah in brotherhood and peace.
Rabbi Lazar conducted a Siyum HaRambam to the excitement of the huge audience who were privileged to participate in the Siyum of the entire oral Torah according to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s directive. Following that, Rabbi Lazar spoke about the importance of the tenth anniversary of the annual EuroStars journey visiting one of the most important places in terms of its rich Jewish history and the Rabbis and Scholars who enlightened the world from Turkey.
The event was held during the Israeli Day of Remembrance, Yom HaZikaron, for the Fallen Soldiers of the Wars of Israel and Victims of Actions of Terrorism, and therefore the moving video clip produced by the JEM Media company and shown to the students focused on the Torah’s attitude to the excellent IDF soldiers wounded in battle. The Synagogue’s cantor recited the ‘Kel Mala Rachamim’ prayer with the names of those murdered in the attacks that took place in Istanbul, and candles were lit for the raising of their souls.