By Vestnik Kavkaza
This year Hanukkah is celebrated from December 6th to December 14th. Yesterday Vladimir Putin met Alexander Boroda, the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, and Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia, and wished all Jews happy Hanukkah. A few days earlier in the Moscow Region the new Jewish community center ‘Zhukovka’ was opened. The complex has become the largest community-based center in Russia built in the last 15 years. All the necessary facilities for worship and community life are present: male and female prayer rooms, special ritual baths, a kosher restaurant, a banquet hall and a lecture hall will be located on two floors of the complex, designed by a British architectural firm commissioned by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia. It also provides hotel rooms for those wishing to spend the Sabbath.
The initiator of the construction was the FJCR President Alexander Boroda. The embodiment of the idea into practice took about 6 years. The cost of the construction was 15 million dollars. “Actually, the word ‘Hanukkah’, the root of the word, means ‘house-warming’. We remember when the Jews went to the temple after they defeated the Greeks, they rebuilt the temple and had a house-warming party. This is a new home, there is a parallel, I am very pleased by this coincidence, certainly it is divine providence. This building will have meaning, purpose and implementation only when it is full of people, when everyone will come here and find something for themselves. All the doors of the center are open, open to all the residents of the village of Zhukovka, for the residents of the Moscow region, open to the inhabitants of Moscow, for everyone who wants to come here, to learn something new. I wish all of us that we, each of us, will bring to the center a little bit of our warmth, a little bit of love, invite our relatives, acquaintances, friends, and the center will be filled with the sense for which it was created,” Boroda stated.
“Hanukkah teaches us that any commission, any victory is necessary for us, if we can add light. I am sure that in this house a light is lit, the light will illuminate all around, the entire area. And I’m sure that every person who will come here, pray, participate in community life, come out from here being more confident, life becomes lighter, and he will carry this further to others,” Berel Lazar said.
“This is definitely an event for the whole country, particularly for the suburbs. This is a magnificent building, a great place. I have no doubt that these magnificent walls will be filled with the same people, the same actions, the same intentions, which are very necessary for our country. I want to congratulate everyone on this event, I wish that all religions of the world will be united in the name of good, in the name of pure calm sky. Today we live in difficult times, and the contribution of each of us should lead to peace being everywhere,” Andrey Vorobyov, Governor of the Moscow Region, hopes.
The official part ended with the lighting of the first Hanukkah candle in the ritual candlestick, the menorah. It symbolizes the victory of holiness over impurity, the light overcoming the surrounding darkness.