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Rabbi Berel Lazar Appointed
Chief Rabbi Of Russia

Eighty-five Jewish community leaders throughout Russia (out of 110 existing communities) convened in Moscow and selected Rabbi Berel Lazar as chief rabbi of Russia. The meeting was initiated by the leaders of seven of the largest Jewish communities in Russia in the wake of the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Nizhni-Novograd, and is an attempt to strengthen the ties among the Jewish communities throughout Russia.

The position of chief rabbi had been vacated just days before; consequently, elections were held in which Rabbi Lazar was selected by majority vote. Up until that point, Rabbi Lazar had served as chief rabbi of the Confederacy of Jewish Communities in the C.I.S. and rav of the Marina Roscha Synagogue in Moscow.

Rabbi Lazar is the son of Rabbi Moshe Lazar of Milano, Italy. He began working with Russian Jews after his marriage. In 5750, he and his family moved to Moscow, and with almost no resources began working among the Jews of the city. His pleasant manner allowed him to make inroads among many Jews of Moscow, resulting in many becoming involved in his activities to spread Yiddishkeit in the city.

Shortly after arriving in Moscow, Rabbi Lazar founded the first Jewish school in the city, which began to operate in the building of the Great Synagogue. In 5752, Rabbi Lazar was elected director of the Agudas HaRabbanim of the C.I.S., an organization which today has over 150 member rabbanim throughout the C.I.S.

Rabbi Lazar expanded and developed Jewish programming in Moscow, as well as in other cities. He has also advised, supported, and assisted dozens of shluchim who have gone to other cities throughout the C.I.S.

Indeed, the outreach programs in the C.I.S. have grown prodigiously, with schools, mikvaos, shuls, Gan Yisroel camps, yeshivos, etc. In order to help the work of the shluchim, the Igud HaKehillos HaYehudiyos B’Russia was formed, to unite hundreds of Jewish communities. This has become the largest official Jewish organization in Russia.

The various community leaders are confident that Rabbi Berel Lazar’s election as chief rabbi of Russia will spur on unprecedented development of Jewish life in Russia.


Rabbi Berel Lazar


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