New synagogue dedicated in Moscow

(JTA) — A Russian chief rabbi has dedicated a Torah scroll at a newly-opened synagogue in Moscow.

Rabbi Berel Lazar, who is affiliated with the Chabad movement, installed the holy scroll at the Michurinsky synagogue, which opened its doors two months ago, the Interfax news agency reported. The dedication ceremony was held on May 14.

“The ceremony means that now this place gets the status of a real home of worship, where Jews can hold services in accordance with all the requirements of Jewish law,” Rabbi Michael Lidogoster, a spokesperson for Lazar’s office, told Interfax.

The Michurinsky congregation is led by Rabbi Shimon Krasnodomsky, who said that even before the dedication, daily and Sabbath prayers had been held at the synagogue since its opening, as well as Jewish learning and Hebrew lessons. He added work would soon begin on children’s educational programs and projects for young people.

According to Interfax, the Michurinsky congregation is the sixth operational synagogue in Moscow — Russia’s largest city which has a Jewish population of at least 100,000, according to the European Jewish Congress.

Meanwhile, in St. Petersburg – Russia’s second largest city with at least 40,000 Jews, the board of the Grand Choral Synagogue announced it would celebrate the institution’s 120th anniversary this month by throwing its doors open for the first time to the general public, the news site reported on Saturday.

The St. Petersburg Synagogue, which is among Europe’s largest, will be open between 2 a.m. and-6 a.m. on May 19 — the city’s “museum night,” when all museums are open free of charge.