More than eight hundred Jewish students and young professionals, from every Jewish organization in the Russian capital, got together for an historical joint event and special party at the Gazgolder Club in honor of Lag BaOmer, putting aside differences of opinion and declaring aloud “We are all brothers and sisters.”
The fabulous and unique event was organized behind the scenes for months and managed to bring together all the city’s organizations dealing with students, youth and young professionals.
The participating organizations included the “Na Arbate” Synagogue led by Rabbi Yanki Klein, “Beit Aharon” led by Rabbi Moshe and Etl Leyah Drutin, HSE Jews Chabad Center led by Rabbi Moti Kantor, the Olami organization led by Alexander and Sarah Katz, the Jewish University led by Rabbi Eli Riss, Loft Lubavich led by Rabbi Aizik Rozenfeld, Beit Chabad MGIMO University led by Rabbi Shimon Krasnodomsky, Ohaley Yakov led by Rabbi Betzalel Mandel, Yahad Jewell led by Michoel Stavropolsky, Chaverim MGU University led by Rabbi Mamash Skalka, and Torah M’Tzion led by Rabbi Nachum and Rachel Zicherman.
Historically, Lag BaOmer commemorates the day in which Rabbi Akiva’s pupils – who didn’t pay adequate respect to each other – ceased to die from a plague. This day of Jewish unity is celebrated across the globe, ensuring that such a terrible disaster will not re-occur. That is why this day was chosen for this special gesture of unity between competing organizations.
The event included games, quizzes, fabulous food, live music performances, and original activity stands operated by the different organizations.
As the highlight of the event, each of the organization leaders was invited by the MC to receive a certificate of unity and address the participants. Additional motivating speeches were delivered by Rabbi Dovid Yeshuvayuv the Head of Torah M’Tzion, a member of Moscow Beit Din and its acting Chief Rabbi; and by Rabbi Berel Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia and Chairman of the FJC of Russia.
Both ended their speeches with inspiring calls for action and unity. Rabbi Yeshuvayuv recited the famous ‘Shema Yisrael’ prayer word-by-word with the participants, while Rabbi Lazar encouraged the participants to sing ‘Hinei Ma Tov’ with him in both Hebrew and Russian.
Finally, the Rabbis together with all the leaders of the organizations proceeded to light a bonfire and listen to a special performance by DJ Smash and other famous celebrities.
Rabbi Mendy Wilansky of FJC’s YAHAD Youth organization explained “It was a great pleasure to see over 800 Jewish youngsters and students unite together in such a meaningful and uplifting event. Everyone could feel how close we truly are. It was a shining example of how Jews across the globe can nourish each other and live in peace and harmony.”