Rabbis of Russia Convene in South Siberia

75 Rabbis and Chabad emissaries traveled from across Russia to spend a Shabbaton weekend of unity in the Siberian city of Tomsk, one of the oldest cities in the district. They enjoyed a unique Shabbat with the local Jewish community and were joined by rabbis from Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan. 

In a true spirit of unity, seventy-five Rabbis from Russia’s cities and regions joined together in the Siberian city of Tomsk for a special weekend Shabaton which began on Friday morning at the city’s historical Choral Synagogue and continued at the adjacent Jewish Community Center headed by Rabbi Levi Kaminetsky, the Chief Rabbi of Tomsk; A thriving center serving the local community and hundreds of Jewish students who are attracted by the city’s prestigious universities.

The Governor General of Tomsk, Mr. Mazur, and the city’s Mayor Mr. Ratner visited the convention on Friday to express their appreciation, on behalf of the region’s citizens, for the extensive activities of the Rabbis who arrived all the way from Birobidzhan in Russia’s Far East to Kaliningrad in its west. Russia’s Chief Rabbi, Berel Lazar, in turn, expressed his gratitude on behalf of the region’s Jews for the help and government support provided in Tomsk and its surrounding areas.

Rabbi Lazar presided over the unique Shabbaton, giving classes both to the local Jews and answering many halachic questions raised by the visiting Rabbis. Many of his messages, focused on the uniqueness of the upcoming festival of Shabout.

Additional speakers were Rabbi Yitzchok Kogan of Moscow’s Bolshaya Bronnaya synagogue, Rabbi Alexander Boroda, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Pevzner Chief rabbi of Petersburg, and Rabbi Zalman Deutsch, Rabbi of Perm, on behalf of the convention’s organizing committee.

The rabbinical convention is taking place for the fifth time, while the previous events were held in the cities of Ufa, Rostov, Novosibirsk, and Nizhny Novgorod. Next year’s convection is planned to be held at Russia’s European enclave of Kaliningrad.

On Friday, prior to Shabbat,  a number of halachic symposiums and different forums took place, presenting new outreach tools for working with the community’s youth.

Photography: Valery Kasatkin

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