Russian Purim Celebrated in Shadow of Moscow Terror Attack

Russia’s Chief Rabbi, Berel Lazar, instructed the Jewish communities in Russia to cancel the Purim celebrations with music on Saturday night and Sunday in the wake of the deadly terror attack in Moscow on Friday night that killed at least 133 and injured over 100, with dozens in critical condition.

In light of the Sunday day of mourning announced by authorities on Saturday following the ISIS terrorist attack at the Crocus City Hall music venue in the Moscow Oblast on Friday, Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar called for more subdued Purim celebrations and instructed that musical events for the Jewish festival of Purim be canceled on the holiday eve and day.

Rabbi Lazar said that the Russian Jewish community should increase their observance of other holiday obligations, including the reading of the megillah, and giving the traditional mishloach manot gifts — especially to the needy, and including those in hospitals and prisons.

“The news about the disaster in Moscow causes us and all of our community great feelings of sorrow,” Rabbi Lazar said upon learning of the attack. “We share in the mourning of the victims’ families and pray for the recovery of the injured.

Rabbi Lazar added that the attack in the Russian capital took place on the eve of a holiday in which the Jewish people had faced the threat of destruction, but G-d saved the innocent and punished those responsible. He called for unity of the forces of good in the face of evil until they were completely defeated. Observance of the holiday’s commandments would strengthen unity. This is why I call on all Jews to gather tonight and tomorrow in synagogues and community centers to read the Book of Esther and observe all the commandments of the holiday. And thanks to this, we will be assured that G-d will help us and protect us from the oppressive manna of our generation.”

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