Rabbi’s shooting shakes Russian community’s confidence

(JTA) — Accustomed to the sound of gunfire at night, neighbors of Rabbi Ovadia Isakov were not particularly startled when a shot rang out on Pushkin Street on July 25. But unlike the volleys that partygoers often fire heavenward in this lawless corner of the Russian Caucasus, the shooters outside the rabbi’s door had a […]

Putin: Jewish teacher’s jail sentence ‘egregious’

(JTA) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said a court in Tver may have acted “egregiously” in sentencing a Jewish rural teacher to seven years in jail for taking $13,000 in bribes. The case of the teacher, Ilya Farber, “is, of course, egregious,” Putin said during an interview with Russia’s Channel 1. It is Putin’s first […]

Russian Chief Rabbi Tells Jews To Back Off on Criticizing Vladimir Putin

From The Jewish Daily Forward by Paul Berger Read more: http://forward.com/articles/183459/russian-chief-rabbi-tells-jews-to-back-off-on-crit/?p=all#ixzz2eVhXyxfv When Vladimir Putin offers you a gift — you accept it. That’s according to Berel Lazar, Russia’s chief rabbi, who said he had to accept Putin’s offer to move a contested Jewish library to a new Jewish museum in Moscow controlled by Chabad in Russia. […]

Navalny misses runoff in Moscow mayoral race, seeking recount

(JTA) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called for a recount in Moscow’s mayoral election after missing the runoff vote cutoff by one percentage point. Incumbent Sergei Sobyanin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, garnered just over 51 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election to 27 percent for Navalny. Four others also […]

Pilgrims leave Uman amid reports of heavy damage to property

(JTA) — Thousands of Jewish pilgrims are leaving Ukraine, where their weeklong stay in Uman resulted in a fire, power shortages, a sewage flood and several arrests. In one incident, three Israeli police officers who were sent to Uman to help police the estimated 26,000 Jewish pilgrims who congregate every year ahead of the Jewish New […]

Russian gay rights leader takes hit for anti-Semitic tweets

(JTA) — One of Russia’s most prominent gay rights activists made anti-Semitic statements on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. The tweets appeared last week on Nikolai Alexeyev’s account in connection with an article about him in OUT Magazine. Alexeyev re-tweeted comments calling the author of the article, Michael Lucas, a “Jewish pig” and “Israeli monkey,” […]

Ukraine plans to reopen old airport for Uman pilgrims

(JTA) — Ukraine is planning to open a decommissioned airport near Uman for Jewish pilgrims. The airport of Cherkasy Oblast, the central Ukrainian district where Uman is located, may be reopened as soon as next year, spokesperson Nicholas Sukhovoj told the Israeli Russian-language newspaper Vesti. The move would help alleviate traffic from the Odessa-Kiev highway that […]

Jewish shtetl in Azerbaijan survives amidst Muslim majority

(JTA) — Even at 70, Yedidia Yehuda can negotiate a narrow mountain path in northern Azerbaijan with a confidence easily mistaken for carelessness. “You take care not to fall yourself and don’t worry about me,” he tells a visitor following him toward a small town on the northern bank of the Kudyal river, where 2,000 […]

St. Petersburg Shul to get $300,000 Makeover

(JTA) — Russia’s largest synagogue announced plans for a $300,000 facelift. The Grand Choral Synagogue in St. Petersburg issued a tender Wednesday for interior renovations of the 155-foot tall hall, the Russian news site fontanka.ru reported. The tender states that the works should be completed in 40 to 54 days and should cost about 10 million […]