NEW YORK (May. 10)
For the first time in 22 years, Israel’s Independence Day was officially celebrated in Moscow on Wednesday with a diplomatic reception.
The guests included representatives of the Soviet Foreign Ministry.
The reception was hosted by the Israeli consular delegation, headed by Aryeh Levin, which has been in the Soviet capital since last summer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed by Rabbi Arthur Schneier of the Park East Synagogue here.
Schneier, who just returned from the Soviet Union, received the information by telephone from Rabbi Adolf Shayevitch, religious leader of Moscow’s Choral Synagogue, which has a sister relationship with Park East.
Shayevitch said he marked Yom Ha’atzmaut by affixing a mezuzah to the door of the building at 56 Bolshaya Ordinka, in central Moscow, where the Israeli consular delegation is located. The building was the Embassy of Israel until the Soviet Union severed all relations with the Jewish state in 1967.
Shayevitch told Schneier that the reception was held at the Mezhdorodnaya Hotel, one of Moscow’s better hostelries.
About 60 people attended, including many Soviet Jews, reported Shayevitch, who attended the reception with his wife.
Schneier returned earlier this week from the Soviet Union, where he visited as co-chairman of an international rabbinic delegation that included three chief rabbis of cities in Israel.
During the mission, Moscow Mayor Valery Saikin signed an agreement promising to return a two-story building formerly owned by the Choral Synagogue.
The building, which is adjacent to the synagogue, will be used as a Jewish educational and community center.