Russian Jews Note Transformation

Interfax & Vestnikkavkaza

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated participants and guests of the seventh congress of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) on the organization’s 15th anniversary, the Kremlin press service reported on Thursday.

“The FJCR has gained high authority and recognition both in our country and abroad during these years. Together with other Jewish organizations of Russia you carry out great enlightenment and charity work which is in demand and pay constant attention to the upbringing of the younger generation,” Putin’s address to the congress reads.

The FJCR fully uses opportunities that it has today to revive religious, spiritual and cultural traditions of Russian Jews, it reads.

“And of course your activity aimed at countering any manifestation of anti-Semitism and xenophobia and at spurring inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogs, promoting the principles of respect, neighborliness and religious tolerance deserves the most sincere recognition,” Putin’s address reads.

The congress is expected to be the most representative in the last 15 years, gathering delegates from 178 Russian cities.

The attendees will discuss countering xenophobia and anti-Semitism, the work of Jewish communities in the field of education and social services, youth policies, and the near-term prospects of Russia’s Jewish community. Guests from Jewish communities from other CIS countries and beyond, charity representatives and diplomats will take part.

On the eve of the Forum there was a press conference with the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, President of the FJCR, Rabbi Alexander Boroda, and the head of the Department of Public Relations of the FJCR, Boruch Gorin.

“Our community is one of the best in the world, very active, very united. In reality, there are few places where the Jewish community is so organized as in Russia,” Lazar said.

“Jews have the opportunity to live a full life in Russia without abandoning their religion and culture.”

“Synagogues and Jewish centers are now in all major cities. Look at how many people visited synagogue. 15 years ago, Jewish education took its first steps. Now Jewish youth has every opportunity for education. We have opened the largest Jewish Museum in Europe. The more everyone knows about it, the less reasons for anti-Semitism,” he said.

“We have excellent relations with the followers of other religions,” the rabbi said. “Our country is going through a difficult period, and this congress is held precisely in order to allow community leaders to understand the importance of their work at this time,” Lazar said. “Our message today is to always try to do more, if you can do more,” he concluded. 

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