First Jewish Center Unveiled in Russia
Link to original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apvk9v148AI
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"On Monday evening several hundred Moscow Jews attended the unveiling of the Russian capital's first Jewish community centre built on the site of a wooden Lubavich synagogue gutted by fire seven years ago.
President Vladimir Putin and Russia's Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar cut the tape in a ceremony described as the start of a new era of Russian Jewish renaissance.
Putin stressed the importance of the Jewish community in Russia, a country often criticized in the past for overt and covert anti-Semitism.
The 45-room centre has a synagogue, library, restaurants, gymnasium, classrooms, youth halls, computer lab,
exercise room, imax-like theater, and two mikvahs (ritual baths).
The ceremony was attended by the Chief Rabbi of Israel, the U-S ambassador to Moscow, and other dignitaries, including Nathan Sharansky, a prisoner of conscience in the Soviet period and now member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament).
Sharansky said the new community center has risen in the place notorious for pogroms, persecution and fires directed against Jews.
"The Jewish community has proved to be a constructive and influential force. It not only unites the Jewish people, but also, one cay say, we, in the governing structures, feel its influence on ourselves. It is exerting its influence on us, too."
SUPER CAPTION: Vladimir Putin
"Here's just the place which for us was like a symbol of the place of pogroms, persecution and fires and attempts to destroy our identity. And this place where now you see this great building, the community centre, with the blessing and participation of the President, no doubt symbolizes a lot about a new era."
SUPER CAPTION: Natan Sharansky, member of Israeli Parliament
"We personally believe that radically inside the heart of the people there was always respect and love for the Jewish people. When the government was against it, this automatically showed in the people. When the government shows support, it's for sure going to show in the hearts of the people and we believe that Jews are welcome here."
SUPER CAPTION: Rabbi Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia"
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