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Chanukas HaBayis For Jewish Center In Moscow And The New Marina Roscha Shul

Thousands of Jews participated in the festive chanukas ha’bayis for the new seven story Marina Roscha Shul and Jewish center. The brand new building contains the Beis Menachem Shul with 2,000 seats for men and 400 seats for women, and will serve as the nerve center for Jewish programming and outreach in Moscow.

The magnificent new building was built near the spot where the legendary Marina Roscha Shul used to be before it was burned down a few years ago by anti-Semites. The Marina Roscha Shul, which served Chabad Chassidim for many years, has quite an impressive history. It remained active throughout the seventy years of Communist rule, even though all other shuls (except for the Archipova Shul) were closed down. Throughout the years, Jewish-Chassidic outreach extended from this shul, preserving the Jewish spark.

With the fall of communism, the work in disseminating Judaism and the wellsprings of Chassidus exploded. A yeshiva was opened, and a shul, a shluchim office, a center for mitzva tanks, a branch of CHAMA, a center for brissin, a center for food distribution, and even a shatnez laboratory were all crowded into the small building and its surrounding courtyard.

The fire burned it all down, but the shluchim in Moscow, led by the chief rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, soon saw the blessing in it. Rabbi Lazar, together with Rabbi Mordechai Weisberg, a shaliach in Moscow, decided to return fire with fire.

They began to construct a Jewish community center in Moscow that will serve as a beacon of the light of Torah and Chassidus for tens of thousands of Jews. Many Jews in Russia and abroad who heard about the revival of Judaism in Moscow enthusiastically contributed towards the center.

The seven story structure is near Sochowski Street, one of Moscow’s main streets. It consists of 7,000 square meters and contains a mikva on the first floor and the shul on the second and third floors. The new Beis Menachem Shul is one of the most beautiful shuls in the world.

The building also serves as the center for the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS and contains the main office of the Federation of Communities and Shluchim. It also has simcha halls, a Torah library with books in Russian, a video room, and a center for Chabad projects throughout Russia.

The event celebrating the chanukas ha’bayis was covered in the media throughout Russia, in Eretz Yisroel and around the world. All the shluchim in the C.I.S. were there, as well as distinguished guests from Eretz Yisroel such as Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau, Natan Sharansky, and the president of the Association of Jewish Communities in Russia, Mr. Michael Gloz. The event featured a guest appearance by the president of Russia, Vladimir Potin. Mr. Potin stayed for the entire event and addressed all of the media.

Speakers included Rabbi Berel Lazar, businessman Levi Leviev, the deputy mayor of Moscow, the Israeli ambassador, the American ambassador, and President Potin. Mr. Potin spoke for 15 minutes praising the Jewish community, the Federation of Jewish Communities and Rabbi Lazar.

At the beginning of the event, former chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, stood near the Russian president and read a chapter of Tehillim. Then he blew a shofar and gave it to Mr. Potin as a gift.

President Potin and Rabbi Lazar cut the ribbon and then Rabbi Lazar affixed a mezuza to the new building.

The real beneficiaries of this wonderful new shul and Jewish center are the thousands of Jews in Moscow, who received personal invitations to participate in the event. During the festivities, rabbanim and shluchim called upon the Jews of Moscow to go to shul more frequently and to renew the glorious days of Jewish life in Russia.

At the end of the celebration, each participant received an attractive prospectus describing the work of the Federation, as well as a medallion engraved with the symbol of the Federation. After the public event, there was a separate dinner to honor the donors who contributed towards the building and those who came to participate in the celebration.

On Tuesday, 19 Elul, there was a dinner for the main contributors towards the center, which cost 15 million dollars. Each participant received a special video of the work of Chabad in the C.I.S.

Some of the guests flew to Dniepropetrovsk on Wednesday for the dedication of an old shul that was returned to the Jewish community a few years ago. The shul was renovated over the past few years, again with many distinguished guests attending the event, including the chief rabbis of Israel and the president of the Ukraine, Mr. Leonid Kotchma.



The chief rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar


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