Throughout Russia, from Moscow to Siberia, from the Crimean Peninsula to the Far East – 500 public Seders were held this year, which were attended by thousands of Russian Jews.
Over 150 different public Seders were held In the capital city of Moscow alone, which were attended by thousands of people from all walks of life in Moscow.
The largest of them was held in the Hall of Central Synagogue “Marina Roscha”, led by the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar.
At the start of the Seder, greetings from Russian President Vladimir Putin were read to the participants, which was sent on the eve of the holiday to Rabbi Lazar.
The letter stated in part: “My blessings to the Jews of Russia for the holiday of Passover, one of the biggest holidays in the Jewish religion. This holiday recalls the events of days of old – the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery, the rise of the vision of freedom, of justice and of creation, the same values that are of importance to humankind today. It is good to know, that the life of the Jewish community in our country continues to develop and grow, with the opening of synagogues and schools, charitable projects and educational projects…Blessings for a happy holiday, wishes for health, happiness and wealth, prosperity and well-being.”
Dozens of other public Seders were held in the capital as well, at the Marina Roscha Jewish center, the Chesed Center “Shaare Zedek”, a nearby educational center “Beis Svidler” and other public institutions and central synagogues nearby.
The Seders were classified by language, age and level of observance, so every Jew would find an appropriate place to spend the holiday.
In addition, there were about 30 Seders held at Chabad houses throughout Moscow, in all the synagogues and Jewish centers. A Seder was even held for inmates at the Botirkosky prison, the world’s oldest prison that has run continuously for over two hundred and forty years, in which hundreds of Chassidim were imprisoned after being arrested for spreading Torah and Judaism in the days of Communism.
Many Shluchim, young men and Kollel students, as well as 150 students from the Yeshiva Gedola and Mesivta of Moscow, all spread out to hundreds of cities throughout Russia, many of which do not have full-time Shluchim, to assist in the preparation and the running of the Seders.
It is so beautiful to see that in a place where Judaism was banned it now thrives and in such a beautiful way. Kol hakovod!