The Federation of the Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and in honor of the occasion Russian prime-time TV channel, Russia 24 aired a series of eight interviews with FJCR rabbis filmed at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow.
Featuring rabbis of various Russian regions, from Siberia to the South, including the Federation’s heads, Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and President Rabbi Alexander Boroda, the interviews examined different facets of the vibrant Jewish life in a country where twenty years ago one could hardly find a functioning synagogue.
“Today every Jew in Russia has the infrastructure and the opportunities to become closer to their culture and traditions, and we see how much it is valued by community members, who haven’t had this available before,” said Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar.
The regional rabbis spoke about their cities and Jewish life there: Rabbi Kaminetsky of Tomsk and Rabbi Danzinger of Rostov-on-Don explained how they came to live and work in Russia after having been rabbis in Israel and America; Rabbi Riss of Birobidjan discussed his ‘man-made’ community, which has now become a growing and flourishing center of regional Jewish life. Other rabbis featured in the series were Rabbi Wagner of Irkutsk & Irkutsk region, Rabbi Krichevsky of Ufa & Bashkortostan, Rabbi Gorelik of Kazan & Tatarstan and Rabbi Gorin, the head of Knizhniki Jewish publishing.
“Jewish life in Russia over the last twenty years has blossomed into a complex, organized system with dozens of programs and activities for anyone. Every major city in the country now has a working synagogue and JCC, over 165 in all,” said FJCR president Rabbi Boroda, stressing that youth programs and education have become the main focus of the Federation’s activity in the last years.
The celebrations of FJCR anniversary will continue with a country-wide conference later on in the year.
Watch here (Russian):