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Berl Lazar thanked Patriarch Alexy II
Berl Lazar, the chief rabbi of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, thanked Patriarch Alexy II for condemning anti-Semitism in the patriarch’s message to the OSCE conference on anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance. “Now that the situation in this sensitive area has aggravated because of the attempts of some politicians and public figures to play a judophobia card, the clearly expressed stand of the Russian Orthodox Church is of special importance,” says the rabbi’s letter of thanks. Berl Lazar is of the opinion that the patriarch’s “vast prestige not only among the Orthodox Christians but also among all Russian citizens will help society realize that there are no contradictions between Orthodox Christians and Judaists in Russia.” The rabbi believes that of special importance is the patriarch’s “warning against the attempts to impose uniformity on the peoples, also by suppressing their religious traditions.” “The unique experience of Russia where people of various nationalities and creeds were not just coexisting for centuries but supporting one another and stood shoulder-to-shoulder protecting the common state can and must help resolve the present problems of Europe and the world,” Berl Lazar noted. He also stressed that “Russia’s Jewish community, on its part, fully supports the struggle against ‘the pressing out’ of Orthodox population from Bosnia and Kosovo and against the discrimination Russians come up against in some Baltic countries.” Russia’s chief rabbi made assurances of “the readiness of the Russian Jewry to work together with Orthodox Christians in the framework of the proposed dialogue among representatives of ethno-confessional communities to create a world without national and religious intolerance.” Berl Lazar also congratulated Patriarch Alexy II on the 15th anniversary of his enthronement and wished him “long life, sound health and fortitude in all his good deeds.”
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