The President of Israel Mr. Reuven Rivlin visited FJC’s community in Tbilisi, Georgia yesterday, as part of a two-day official visit to the country. He met with FJC’s ‘Or Avner’ school and kindergarten children, danced with them in Tbilisi’s ancient synagogue and addressed community members.
In the meeting, President Rivlin remarked on the long history of the Jewish community in Georgia and its turbulent journey. “The faith and strength of Georgian Jews are not just traits of the past; they are fully evident in modern history,” he said, referring to the community’s struggle for preservation under the Soviet regime and its fight for immigration rights on the frontier of the Iron curtain gates’ opening. In a famous historical incident, eight Georgian Jewish families protested for their right to immigrate to Israel on the Red square in Moscow in the 1970’s.
President Rivlin also called on the community, headed by chief rabbi Meir Kozlovsky, to serve as liaisons in Israeli-Georgian relations. “The warm connection that exists here in the country with the Jewish community adds special meaning to the relations between our two countries. Jews are one people no matter where they live, and we will do everything possible to continue keeping a close tie with you and with Georgia,” he said. The Jewish community of Georgia is one of the oldest diasporas in the world, with its origins tracing back to second century b.c.e. After the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS (FJC) founded by its President Mr. Lev Leviev, began actively resorting Jewish institutions and community life in the country.
The visit concluded with traditional Hebrew songs, performed by FJC’s ‘Or Avner’ pupils, and dancing in the synagogue. Or Avner Tbilisi currently counts about 150 students in its school and kindergarten.