By COLlive reporter
Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar was invited to the Kremlin for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on the eve of the Pesach holiday, Monday.
Joining them was Rabbi Alexander Barada, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia.
Prior to the meeting, the President sent his annual holiday greetings to the Jewish community, praising their involvement in civil matters and commitment to communal life.
“The Jewish community in Russia is making an enormous contribution to strengthening the ties between various peoples and religions in our country; increasing trust and mutual understanding between individuals,” he wrote.
Putin also wrote that the Jewish community “works to preserve stability and consensus in the general public and actively participates in the education of the younger generation as well as charitable and humanitarian actions.”
At the meeting, President Putin inquired about the state of the Jewish communities in Russia and their preparations for Pesach.
He made a point to ask about the 10,000 Jews living in the Crimean Peninsula, which became part of Russia after its annexation last month from neighboring Ukraine.
Rabbi Lazar replied that Chabad will be holding public seders in three Crimean cities – Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta – led by Chabad yeshiva students from Moscow.
“We thank you that in Russia today the Jewish people feel comfortable and there is a freedom of religion,” Rabbi Lazar said, noting that 30,00 Jews are expected to participate in public seders in Russia.