Montenegro recognizes Jewish community as official minority


(JTA) — The prime minister of Montenegro signed an agreement to recognize the Jewish community as an official minority in the country.

Prime Minister Igor Luksic signed the agreement Feb. 2 during an official ceremony held with representatives of the Montenegro Jewish community, including president Yasha Alfandri and Albanian Chief Rabbi Yoel Kaplan. The agreement also concerns issues of property and education.

The official recognition comes after a delegation from the Rabbinical Center of Europe  and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger met with the prime minister to discuss the issue.

“There is no doubt that this is an historic day and an important milestone for the future of Montenegro Jewry,” Luksic said.

Kaplan reportedly sent a group of yeshiva students to Montenegro last year to celebrate a Passover seder attempting to launch a revival of Jewish life in the Balkans country. Montenegro has a Jewish population of approximately 1,000.

Montenegro has three officially recognized religions: Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity and Islam.

“Creating a Jewish communal structure in Montenegro is a great challenge but a vital one,” said Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg, deputy director of the Rabbinical Center of Europe. “There is a thirst for being part of a wider Jewish community, not just in their own country but being connected to the European Jewish community."

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