In a meeting with his capital’s chief rabbi, regional Gov. Sergey Darkin promised to ease the bureaucratic pressure holding back the restoration of Vladivostok, Russia’s historic synagogue. The governor of Primorsky Krai, a far southeastern province of Russia bordering China, North Korea and the Sea of Japan, also agreed to put his weight behind the construction of a comprehensive Jewish community center.

“We must support the community’s initiative to establish such a center,” Darkin told Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yisroel Silberstein. The government should “provide Primorsky Krai’s Jewish community with support in the development of national traditions.”

Silberstein, who took up his position in 2006, briefed the official on issues facing the local Jewish community, which he estimated had some 6,000 people. He also made clear that the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia would underwrite the restoration of the synagogue, which was shuttered by authorities during the Soviet era; It once housed a chocolate store, but was transferred back to the Jewish community in 2004.

Since his arrival, Silberstein has maintained warm relations with the local administration. For the rabbi’s birthday in December, Darkin telephoned to personally convey his well-wishes.