Jews in the eastern Siberian city of Ulan-Ude celebrated the first ritual circumcision to take place in this Russian regional capital in more than 80 years.

Located in the Republic of Buryatia, the community flew in a mohel, or ritual circumciser, from Israel for the occasion, while Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Aharon Wagner, chief rabbi of Irkutsk, officiated at the ceremony. Organizers brought in kosher food from Moscow.

“This commandment that transforms our physical bodies reminds us that we can likewise change our spiritual beings to reach greater heights. Therefore, we look on this with optimism,” said Jewish community chairman Vladimir Balandin. “Now is the time that, when people are interested in something, they have the opportunity to grasp and understand it, and to become closer to their roots. What we see here is that parents want what is best for their child.”