“Many nations have come and gone, but the Jewish nation survives generation after generation for thousands of years. I am sure that this is exclusively because of keeping the Torah and Mitzvoth, and careful adherence to Jewish tradition in every generation under all conditions.” These were the words of President Putin to Rabbi Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia.
“I want to bless you and all Jews of Russia in honor of Chanukah and wish you, your family, the nations and the Jews of Russia. I must mention that there is amazing development taking place in Russia. More and more synagogues and Jewish centers are being built and I thank you very much for this. I hope our work together will continue and grow,” said Putin and reiterated; “I again want to thank you for developing the Jewish communities and expanded Jewish activities in all areas and for all ages here in our country Russia.”
These words were said at a special meeting that Putin arranged in his chambers at the Kremlin with the chief rabbi in honor of Chanukah. The President of the Organization of Russian Jewish Congregations Alexander Barda also participated.
The first part of the meeting was public and open to the Russian media which covered it positively and with reverence. During the meeting many important topics about the continued expansion of the many Jewish institutions around all of Russia were discussed. Rabbi Lazar asked President Putin for his support regarding Shabbat, buildings for synagogues and schools for the Jewish communities.