By Yehuda Ceitlin, COLlive Editor
While controversy surrounds WikiLeaks and the people who made public thousands of classified diplomatic documents, we found a Chabad connection.
A COLlive fan tipped us off that Rabbi Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia and Head Chabad Shliach in the Former Soviet Union, was mentioned in the documents leaked by the now infamous internet whistle-blower.
We searched through the Secret US Embassy Cables and found the document labeled “Confidential” written by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on 22/09/08.
Its subject was “Rabbis Shayevich and Goldschmidt cautiously optimistic about Russian Jewish community.”
U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle reports that he met separately with rabbis Adolf Shayevich and Pinchas Goldschmidt, both associated with KEROOR (Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations of Russia) and the Russian Jewish Congress.
The two organizations are known as bitter rivals (and having the lesser hand) of the Federation of Jewish Communities (FJCR), headed by Rabbi Lazar, and supported by known businessmen like Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich.
According to the report, one of the rabbis “admitted that he did not have the same level of contact with the Kremlin” as Rabbi Berel Lazar with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
It goes on to “Note” that Shayevich, “calling himself an old man, he claimed to have little interest in attending official functions, and he appreciated the fact that he was no longer ‘bothered’ by the ruling elite” – a role filled today by Lazar.
Goldschmidt went on to admit that his past efforts to create a non-denominational Jewish museum “failed to bear fruit,” while “Lazar’s Museum of Tolerance received high-level support from Putin and Luzhkov.”
Goldschmidt, it said, “saw the Museum of Tolerance as a Chabad project, one that will present Lazar’s perception of Jewish history and culture and confirmed that Leviev financed Lazar’s project, along with Roman Abramovich.”
To read the full diplomatic document – click here