ROME (JTA) — Rabbi Joel Kaplan, the Chabad emissary to Thessalonika, Greece, has taken up the newly created post of chief rabbi to the tiny Jewish community in Albania.
Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar was among those who took part in an installation ceremony Dec. 6 in the Albanian capital, Tirana. Also taking participating were Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg, deputy director of the Brussels-based Rabbinical Center of Europe, and the center’s co-founder, Rabbi Gershon Mendel Garelik of Milan’s Chabad community.
A statement by the Rabbinical Center of Europe, which has close ties with Chabad, said that creating the post of chief rabbi and naming Kaplan to the post resulted from a meeting held some months ago with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha at the center’s Brussels office.
Most of the 200 to 300 Jews who lived in Albania when communism fell two decades ago were airlifted to Israel. The current Jewish population is estimated at 40 to 150.