Israeli minister of science, technology and space, Mr. Ofir Akunis met with Russian chief rabbi Berel Lazar on Thursday and learned about the country’s Jewish history and its current progress in Jewish education and social support. As part of the meeting, Akunis visited Moscow’s Jewish community center, a charity center for the elderly and the Jewish museum.
The minister, who was in Moscow to participate in “Open Innovations” technological forum, enthusiastically discussed with rabbi Lazar the various aspects of Jewish community life in Russia and Russian-Israeli relations. He was pleasantly surprised to learn that in Moscow alone there are three Jewish schools for different ages as well as several higher education institutes.
“Today there are many youth programs active in Russia aimed at educating young people about Jewish heritage and connecting them to their roots,” said rabbi Lazar. “We believe that a strong diaspora is fundamental for a strong Israel, thus our community is very active in strengthening ties between the two countries,” he said.
Akunis visited the “Shaarei Tzedek”charity center that provides socials support and humanitarian aid for the city’s needy, disabled and elderly Jews. He also toured the city’s famous Jewish museum and Tolerance center, which has been established with the help of FJC in 2008.
Israel is a partner of the technological forum in Moscow in which minister Akunis participated. As part of the forum, he met with Russian education minister and vice prime-minister and addressed a wide audience of international entrepreneurs and business leaders.