Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Russia - Putin's Support Gives Clout to Chabad Sect.

The Wall Street Journal.

Russia - Of all the strange relationships that define today's Russia, few are stranger than the alliance between President Vladimir Putin and an ultra-Orthodox rabbi named Berel Lazar.

Rabbi Lazar is a follower of Chabad-Lubavitch, a Hasidic sect based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that is on the fringes of mainstream Judaism. Its devotees are known for their love of the Rebbe, their late spiritual leader. Some even think he's the Messiah.

In Russia, the Lubavitch are not a marginal sect but a dominant force in Jewish life. Their leader, Rabbi Lazar, goes by the title of Russia's chief rabbi and is viewed by many to be head of the country's Jewish community.

Thriving on Mr. Putin's patronage, his organization, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, is now one of Russia's leading charities, with schools, clinics, orphanages and community centers across the country. Some credit it with single-handedly reviving Jewish life in the Russian hinterlands. But critics charge its success is based on a Faustian bargain with the Kremlin. They say Rabbi Lazar has at times deliberately played down anti-Semitism in Russia and acted as a lobbyist for Mr. Putin around the world. In exchange, Chabad-Lubavitch enjoys unparalleled political influence and has been allowed to gain control of millions of dollars worth of communal property from the Russian state, often trouncing rival claims from other Jewish organizations, critics say.

"There were always court Jews under the Czars, under the Soviets," says Yevgeny Satanovsky, a Jewish community leader. "Lazar is firmly in that tradition."

To Read the Full Article click Here [WSJ]

Full article via. Circus Tent.
Via: Vos Iz Neias


Anonymous said...

Thanks Shlomah Shamos of vos iz neias . com for bringing to us this story, and thanks to all the comments over there.

Keep it up

Anonymous said...