Jews should leave Russia, Ukrainian rabbi says


Eastern Europe


Synagogue in Moscow. Photo AFP, Vano Shlamov

Jewish inhabitants of Russia should leave their country. That is the opinion of the Ukrainian chief rabbi.

According to the Ukrainian chief rabbi, Moshe Reuven Asman, the Putin regime is similar to the regime of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. He said so in an interview with the Voice of America, which is also published by Radio Svoboda. “The Iron Curtain” descends in the country”, the rabbi warned. He referred to his own experiences in the Soviet Union. “I was in the Soviet Union and tried to leave for Israel for many years. When everything closes, it will be difficult to leave.”

Moshe Reuven Asman. Photo Facebook, Shmuel Kiev Azman

The Ukrainian rabbi leaves no stone unturned in the Russian theory of denazification of Ukraine. He says that the Russians use the idea to justify their attacks on synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and memorials. Cynical: “They denazified the Jewish cemetery in Hlukhiv.” The Russian army bombed the Jewish cemetery on May 9.

“Jewish life Russia coming to an end”

Motl Gordon is one of the Jewish Russians who fled his country after the invasion of Ukraine. “I felt that Jewish life in Russia as I knew it was coming to an end”, he said to the Times of Israel.

Motl Gordon. Photo Facebook, Motl Gordon

Already at the last Russian elections for the Duma in 2021, Gordon realised that the political climate in Russia was changing. “It felt like a purge.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine strengthened his feelings. The Russian rabbi strongly opposed the war but felt that he could not make anti-war statements as long as he remained in Russia.

Furthermore, in his opinion, the Russian Jewish community life is threatened. “We are used to thinking of Russian-speaking Jewry as a thing of the past,” he says during the interview with the Voice of America. “People immigrate, one generation goes by, and then they’re integrated into society. The same goes for Israel and America and other countries.”

Therefore, the rabbi works from Israel to connect and support Russian-speaking Jews worldwide to keep the Jewish heritage alive.



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