Euroasian Jewish News
Yuliya Ruthberg and Alexander Mashkevich
EAJC Celebrates 20th Anniversary of the Rebirth of Community Life with Reception
On the 2nd of December, in the Mocow House of celebrations “Saphis”, the traditional yearly reception of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) took place. This year the reception was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Jewish community and spiritual life in the former Soviet Union. Twenty years ago, the founding congress of the Federation of Jewish Organizations and Communities, Vaad USSR – the first in many dozens of years legal independent Jewish organization. Twenty years ago, the Rabbi court was restored in Mocow.
The reception collected over 600 guests – politicians, diplomats, important businessmen, leaders of community structures, rabbis, cultural activists, and scientists. Among the EAJC guests this evening were: Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Alexander Torshin, the Chairman of the Sinodal division for the interaction of the Church and society of the Moscow Patriarchy archpriest Vesvolod Chaplin, the directos Yuri Lyubimov, Iosef Raihelgauz, Yuri Sherling, writers Asar Eppel, Arkady Inin, Vladimir Vishnevsky, the artist Nikas Safronov, scene-designer Boris Krasnov, and many famous people.
A special guest of the evening was the Vice-Premier, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel Avigdor Liberman, which came to Russia with an official visit. In his speech he noted that such a reception is one of the miracles which happened as a result of the fall of the Communist regime. “Twenty years ago, nobody could have imagined that such a reception could take place in Moscow,” he said. Having reminded of the threat to Israel from radical islamists, Liberman called for a rallying of the Jewish organizations and communities of the Euro-Asian region.
The host of the evening, the EAJC President Alexander Mashkevich, called in his speech to remember those who spent their strength, health, and sometimes risked their freedom and life for the right of Jews to live a Jewish life. He spoke about the way the news of the emergence of the Vaad USSR in the December of 1989 had the impact of an explosion, and became the beginning of a real Jewish Renaissance. The President concluded his speech thusly, “Let's do everything within our power that the Jewish people, which has been in existence for over three thousand years now, will live better in the next three thousand.”
The President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder in his speech thanked Alexander Mashkevich for his multifaceted activity in supporting Jewish organizations, and noting especially that the EAJC President is an famous as an accepted leader not only in the countries of the Former Soviet Union, but in the entires Jewish world.
The President of the Vaad Russia, the EAJC Secretary General Michael Chlenov, noted in turn that twenty years ago, an unprecedented even took place: a group of people challenged the Soviet system and won. The EAJC Secretary General summarized, “We did not always understand what we spoke about. For instance, our concepts of a community were far from what has come to be currently. Nonetheless, the community lives, and, thank God, will live on.
Salutations to the organizators and participants in the reception were sent by the President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Bejnamin Netanyahu.
In the course of the evening, Alexander Mashkevich bestowed the honorary award of the Congress – the “For Merits” medal – on the Chairman of the EAJC Director Council Leon Gandelman (for the development of charity), to the leader of the Jewish theater “Shalom,” people's artist Alexander Levenbuk (for his input into the rebirth of Jewish culture). Leading Israeli tenors Evgeniy Shapovalov, Vladislav Gorai and Felix Livshitz performed songs in Hebrew and Yiddish, arias from operas. The hostess of the evening was the Honored Artist of Russia Yulia Rutberg.
Besides this, a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the activity of the Secretary General of the Council of Rabbis of the EAJC, Head Rabbi of Moscow, and Chairman of the Rabbi Court of the CIS and the Baltic countries Rabbi Pinchas Goldshmidt in Russia took place at the reception.