Russia is facing the mass migration abroad of large numbers of its Jewish population, with at least one in eight leaving the country since its war with Ukraine began.
The Jewish Agency helps Jews around the world move to Israel. It says an astonishing 20,500 of Russia’s estimated total of 165,000 Jews have gone since March.
Thousands more have moved to other countries.
Undoubtedly the spectre of historical Jewish persecution has loomed large in the minds of many of those who are a part of this sudden mass migration and those still trying to get out of Russia.
In Moscow, there had been a huge effort to develop the Jewish community since the fall of Communism. Among those at the forefront was Pinchas Goldschmidt, the city’s chief rabbi since 1993.
“We started from scratch with synagogues, schools, kindergartens, social services, teachers, rabbis and community members,” he says of the vibrancy that was created.
But just two weeks into the war this year, Rabbi Goldschmidt and his family left Russia, first to Hungary and then to Israel.
He then stepped down from his position and spoke out against the war. [Continue reading…]