Chametz burning in Moscow
Chametz burning in MoscowChief Rabbi of Russia's office

Jews in eastern Russia – in Siberia, and along the border with Japan – are preparing for Passover. The area is home to thousands of Jews, and rabbis affiliated with Chabad and other groups are conducting Passover Seders for them.

Siberia is about ten time zones east of Israel, so Jews there were already well into the midst of their Seder while Jews in Israel were just burning their chametz, the leavened goods that must be disposed of before the holiday.

Far to the west, meanwhile, Jews in Moscow were also preparing for their festive ceremonial Passover dinner. The Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, was in charge of selling the chametz of Russian Jews, and he also presided over the burning of the chametz in the courtyard of the main Marina Rosche Synagogue in Moscow.

Many other cities and towns in Russia will have communal Seders, conducted by local rabbis and Chabad rabbis. Jews in Crimea and Ukraine are also celebrating the holiday and are hoping for a happy one, despite the tension in the region.