By COLlive reporter
Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar made sure his 50th birthday will be long remembered and have lasting impact by turning it into a “Community Day.”
Thousands of Jews, of all ages and backgrounds, came to a festival that lasted for 6 hours, held at the “Jewish square” between the Jewish Museum, the Sharei Tzedek Charity Center and the Talmud Torah Cheder Menachem in Moscow.
The celebration began with the welcoming of a new Torah donated by the Simanov family and the inauguration of a new Aron Kodesh in the Mesivta, where hundreds of students learn. It was coordinated by Rabbi Yossi Lipsker, Director of the local Jewish educational institutions.
Live Jewish music welcomed participants as they headed to a tent to personally wish a happy birthday to Rabbi Lazar, the Chabad Shliach who helped the unprecedented revival of Jewish life in the former Soviet Union.
Five booths set up nearby, designed by Mrs. Elya Segal, offered a wealth of information about the services, programs and activities Chabad offers in Russia’s capital, from synagogues and education to kosher food, soup kitchens and humanitarian aid.
A highlight of the festival was the presentation of five new vehicles that will join the fleet of cars of the Sharei Tzedek center to deliver food and nutrition to the elderly and lonely in the community. It was donated thanks to the help of Rabbi Alexander Boroda, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia.
There were many guides and booklets given out to participants, including a personal Tehillim translated to Russian, coordinated by Rabbi Schneur Halperin.
Later, during a farbrengen, Rabbi Lazar was presented with a unique gift: The printing of 1000 sets of the Biurim B’Maamarei Rabeinu, the series of commentary on the Rebbe’s chassidic discourses, in his honor.
The books will be published by the Gutnick Institute and will include over 30 maamarim explained and annotated by a staff headed by Rabbi Mendy Ashkenazi of Kfar Chabad, Israel. They will be sold at a 40% discount.
“This is the best gift I’ve ever received,” Rabbi Lazar commented. Members of the Jewish community in Moscow might add that this was the best “birthday party” they’ve been at in a while.