The Jewish community in the Caucasus experienced a remarkable Shabbaton led by Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, who took the opportunity to teach Torah and Chassidic classes, and provide answers to various questions posed by community members.
Following the age-old tradition of Caucasian Jewry to visit their ancestors’ graves on the fast of Tisha B’Av, it was decided – in honor of the year of ‘Hakel’ – to utilize the arrival of Jews from various cities near the Jewish village to the Jewish cemetery in ‘Krasnaya Sloboda’, Azerbaijan, for a unifying Shabbaton celebration, joined by the local Jewish community.
The event was led by Rabbi Berel Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia, who, as in his previous visits, took the opportunity to conduct Torah and Chassidic classes, engage with the congregation, and provide answers to various questions posed by community members.
The event also served as an opportunity to strengthen institutions and promote Torah education in this historic center for the Caucasian Jewish community.
The initiative for this uplifting Shabbat and the surrounding events was led by the philanthropist Mr. Ephraim Binyaminov from Moscow, together with his brother-in-law the philanthropist Mr. Isai Zaharyaev, who arrived together with other prominent members of the Zaharyaev family; all well-known for their acts of kindness and support for Torah institutions worldwide.
From Friday, the eve of Shabbat, onwards, hundreds of people gathered at the central synagogue in the heart of the ‘Krasnaya Sloboda’ village to participate in diverse Torah classes. Parallel classes were also held in other synagogues, led by the Rabbi Zalman Deutsch of Perm and local Chabad rabbi, Rabbi Yona Yakobov.
The event’s highlight was the joint Shabbat meals in a great hall specially prepared for the event beforehand in the village center. After the meals, many stayed for several hours to attend a Chassidic gathering with Rabbi Lazar, who inspired them to carry on the sanctity of the holy Shabbat – Shabbat Nachamu – throughout the entire year, especially in preparation for the month of mercy and forgiveness, Elul, and the following month of Tishrei.