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Thousands celebrate Moscow Jewish festival honoring chief rabbi

(JTA) – Approximately 4,000 people attended Moscow’s first Festival of Judaism, a celebration of the 50th birthday of Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar.

The festival was held June 8, two days after Lazar’s birthday, at the Jewish Museum And Tolerance Center in Moscow. It featured 50 stations where staff and volunteers presented visitors with explanations about elements of the Jewish faith including tefillin, kashrut and the Hebrew Bible, museum chairman Rabbi Boruch Gorin told JTA.

“This was the first time we organized an event of this sort, which we planned as a way to celebrate Rabbi Lazar’s 50th birthday, but we hope to make it an annual event,” he said.

Gorin, a Chabad rabbi, added that Moscow has few Jewish events of the scale seen at the museum during the festival, with the exception of  the Jewish Agency’s Jerusalem Day celebrations and Lag b’Omer events.

The event was advertised on Russian Jewish media, social media and news sites, “and this obviously generated a large turnout and a predominantly Jewish crowd,” Gorin said.

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