In the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, to the east of Moscow, an historical synagogue re-dedication and Torah scroll inauguration ceremony was held by the local Jewish community, marking 130 years to the community's ancient synagogue.
The ceremony was attended by hundreds of the city's Jews, as well as honored guests including Rabbi Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia. The city's rabbi, Rabbi Shimon Bergman, began the ceremony by speaking along with Rabbi Lazar in the city's central hall.
Afterwards, the final touches were put on the scroll, and the Torah, donated by Edward Fiyaksel in the memory of his parents, was carried under a huppah (canopy) to the synagogue.
The scroll was accompanied on the way by musical instruments and singing. Police guarded the event, and closed the city's central street up to the synagogue throughout the ceremony.
Once the procession arrived at the ancient synagogue, the city's mayor Olag Sorokin spoke, followed by other local figures, Rabbi Bergman and Rabbi Lazar.
Capping off the event, the ancient synagogue was reopened following general repairs that it had been undergoing, and a new mezuzah was affixed to the synagogue entrance.
"We must build the European Jewish community anew"
Rabbi Lazar spoke at a large conference of rabbis last week organized by the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE), where he commented on the brit milah (circumcision) bans and shechita (ritual slaughter) bans throughout Europe.
"I certainly think we can call the opponents to brit milah and shechita anti-Semites. They may wear new and fancy clothes, but what they're trying to do is to remove Judaism from the Jews," noted Rabbi Lazar.
"In the Holocaust they killed us by force, through murder, but they understand (now) that it didn't work," continued Rabbi Lazar. "today they try to murder our souls. Our goal is to build anew the Jewish community of Europe to be stronger."