26 September in the Moscow musical theatre of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko on a large scale hosted a gala evening dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Russian Jewish Congress and timed to the onset of the year 5777 in the Jewish calendar.
To congratulate RIVERS with the anniversary came more than a thousand guests, top businessmen, public figures, Directors, actors, musicians – and not only Jews.
Among them were chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar and Adolf Shaevich chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt, Deputy foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the Deputy mayor of Moscow Leonid Pechatnikov and the speaker of the Moscow city Duma Alexey Shaposhnikov, TV presenter Boris Notkin, Elena Hanga and Vladislav Flyarkovsky, musicians Andrei Makarevich, Alexander Kutikov and Mikhail Turetsky, the media managers Michael Berger, Michael Guzman and Nikolai Uskov, Director Joseph raihelgauz, mark Rozovsky, and Yuri Sherling, composers Mikhail Gluz and Alexander Zhurbin, singer Masha Katz and Alla reed, writers Arkady Yining and Anton Nossik, policy Evgeny Gerasimov and Lyudmila Narusova, Economics Ruslan Grinberg and Mikhail Khazin, chess player and social activist Anatoly Karpov, and attorney Vadim Klyuvgant, the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow John Tefft and senior diplomats of Israel and other States, as well as heads of major Jewish organizations Mikhail Chlenov, Beni Lidsky, Bilana Shahar, Vladimir Sternfeld.
In addition to the President of the RIVERS Yury Kanner, the Congress on the evening was represented by businessmen and philanthropists included in the Bureau of RIVERS: Boris mints, Mikhail Mirilashvili, Andrei Rappoport, Boris Belotserkovsky and other Trustees of the charitable programs of the RIVERS. Specifically for these celebrations in Moscow came to regional Jewish leaders, heads of Chesed, the boards of Trustees of the Jewish communities from many regions of Russia – Bryansk, Voronezh, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Orel, Pyatigorsk, Saratov, St. Petersburg.
The reception began in the atrium of the theater, where guests could not only indulge in polite socializing and meals, kosher kitchen, but also to study the interactive exhibition dedicated to the 20-year history of the Congress. Sections of the exhibition presented the main activities of the RIVERS: memorial programs, Jewish education, Jewish culture, diplomacy and anti-Semitism. Over virtual booths stood a plaster copy of «Wings of Victory» – the Memorial Victory red army, created RIVERS in 2012 in Netanya – and in front of another major project, which is yet to be realized – a monument to the poet Samuel Marshak in Moscow. Even a kosher festive meal on the evening was no accident: as the Congress itself, it was both Russian and Jewish at the same time.
At the annual long tradition, the autumn reception of the RIVERS becomes important in year secular Jewish event. This time in connection with the anniversary reception was special. That was also taking place in the theater hall where guests were invited to pass from the atrium in the second half of the reception. Here began the official part of the evening. Congratulatory telegrams in RIVERS it’s a lot, was read some from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvienko, head of the presidential administration Anton Vaino, the mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin. Sounded a video greeting from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In his speech, the President of the RIVERS Yuri Kanner told about the way that over the 20 years of existence of RIVERS was a Jewish community and Jewish philanthropy in Russia. He recalled that in the days before Rosh Hashana, Jews read the «Selichot» and asking for forgiveness and apologized for RIVERS because of the 300 thousand living in Moscow, the capital of the Jews of the synagogue can accommodate only 6 thousand of them, and different forms of Jewish education is not covered by all Jewish children. Soon the tone of the speeches has been the scene came those who stood at the origins of RIVERS in 1996 – the rabbis Berl Lazar and Pinchas Goldschmidt, businessmen Andrey Rappoport and Michael Friedman (the latter was in a room virtually – on the big screen). Half in jest each of them answered the questions of interest today, the community came to him through social networks: how Many Jews feel about money? What is Jewish happiness? Why do Jews answer a question with a question?
Details of the concert program of the evening, the organizers until the last moment did not reveal promising high art and surprises. It was something, and more. At the theater were made by the poet Orlusha, singer Tamara Gverdtsiteli and Alexander Taluka choir, musician Peter nalitch, and the culmination was the appearance of the Olympic champion in figure skating Yulia Lipnitsky with a specially prepared for this evening’s dance number to the music from the movie «Schindler’s List», the host of the evening was the special representative of Russian President for international cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi and Leonid Parfyonov, journalist, recently presented his film «Russian Jews».
Guests of the evening – including the Jews – were able to fully feel their strong bond with the Jewish people, their daily involvement in the life of the Jewish community, their Jewish roots. For some, this technique became an evening of unexpected discoveries, for others – an «encyclopedia» of Russian Jewish life over the past two decades.
The Russian Jewish Congress. Quick reference
The largest secular Jewish organization in Russia. Established in 1996. Acts as a non-profit charitable Foundation. Brings together the most influential and wealthy Russian Jews – high-ranking officials, businessmen, figures of science and culture.
The first President of the RIVERS were Vladimir Gusinsky (1996-2001), and then the Congress was headed by Leonid Nevzlin (2001), Evgeny Satanovsky (2001-2004), Vladimir Sloutsker (2004-2005), Kantor (2005-2009). Since may 2009 the position of President is of the RIVERS Yuri Kanner.