KALININGRAD, November 8. /TASS/. Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar has described the interethnic and interreligious situation in the country as favorable, stressing that Jews in Russia fell comfortable and confident. He was speaking at the opening ceremony at a synagogue in Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad.
“No one builds a synagogue, if one is ready to leave the country. That means that we feel confident here, the government ensures stability here. When people feel comfortable, they know they can attend synagogue, that they enjoy respect and have good relations with their neighbors. The interethnic atmosphere is very good today, and the interreligious one is unique,” he stressed.
According to Russia’s chief rabbi, the situation in Europe is less favorable. “We can see that in today’s Europe [Jewish] communities feel insecure. They do not know what the future has in store for them. Many say they need to leave Europe. No one plans to build new synagogues anywhere in Europe,” he added.
The new synagogue opened in Kaliningrad (formerly Koenigsberg) on the eve of the Crystal Night, also called the Night of Broken Glass (the night of November 9-10, 1938), when anti-Jewish violence erupted in Germany and recently incorporated territories, which marked the beginning of the Holocaust. In Koenigsberg, which was at that time the capital of the German province of East Prussia, the Nazis destroyed four of the five synagogues, including the New Liberal Synagogue, the biggest in the city, which was built in 1894-1896.
The new synagogue in Kaliningrad was built on the site of the New Liberal Synagogue plundered and set on fire by the Nazis.