Russia’s far-flung Jewish community celebrated back-to-back synagogue dedications, with the country’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar presiding over functions in the Moscow suburb of Malakhovka and in Russia’s southernmost city, the Dagestan republic enclave of Derbent. Both grand openings came in time for the holiday of Passover, which began early last week.

In Malakhovka, local community members turned out for a joyous celebration on March 23, five years after a fire claimed their central synagogue. Built in 1932, the building was expropriated by Communist authorities just a year later, although Jewish residents continued to pray secretly in the structure. It burned down in 2005, just months after its official return to communal hands.

“In difficult times, people might have asked why this fire occurred,” said Lazar, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary, in pointing to the building’s restored grandeur. “Today, we received our reply. Sometimes, G‑d does something that helps us rise even higher.”

A day earlier, Lazar was in Derbent for the grand-opening of that city’s synagogue. He was joined at the podium by Magomedsalam Magomedov, president of the Dagestan republic.

“The opening of a Jewish community center in Derbent will help to preserve the traditions of the Jewish people, who are an integral part of the culture of Dagestan,” said Magomedov.”

Both the Jewish communities of Malakhovka and Derbent are members of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia.


Comprising three stories, the new Jewish community center in Derbent, Russia, includes a synagogue, museum, ritual bath, Sunday school and kindergarten.


The Jewish community of Derbent is led by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Ovadya Isakov.


The center’s ritual bath is the southernmost in Russia.


At the synagogue’s March 22 grand opening, Dagestan Republic President Magomedsalam Magomedov hailed the building as an integral force for preserving Jewish traditions in Derbent.


A day after the Derbent celebration, Jewish community members in the Moscow suburb of Malakhovka toasted the reopening of a historic synagogue claimed by fire five years ago.


Ornately furnished inside, the synagogue has come a long way since it was expropriated by Communist authorities in 1933. Just months after its return to communal hands in 2005, a fire destroyed the structure.


At the ceremony, which was attended by Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar, the city’s Chief Rabbi Moshe Tamarin and communal leaders Mikhail Glimcher and Aaron Kogan, Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia president Alexander Boroda said that the synagogue will be “a community, cultural and charitable center that will serve many functions.”


Stained-glass windows round out interior flourishes.