Russian prosecutors confiscate Chabad Jewish school textbooks

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Russian prosecutors confiscated books from a Jewish Chabad school in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg following complaints that pupils were taught to hate non-Jews there.

The prosecutors raided the Or Avner school of Yekaterinburg last week, according to a report Wednesday on the Russian news website

The investigation was launched following a complaint by one of the parents of a pupil studying in the high school division of Or Avner, the report said. The parent said the teachings at the school infringe on the rights of members of other faiths.

An unnamed member of the Jewish community of Yekaterinburg told Kommersant that his community has appealed to the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the investigation, which the unnamed source said was unfounded and based on false information.

The Russian Jewish Congress also protested the move.

“Allegations of extremism, witchcraft and black magic in the Torah have been sought for in the Middle Ages,” said German Zaharyaev, vice-president of the Russian Jewish Congress. “If any were found, it would have already been banned and not only in Yekaterinburg.”

The Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Pinchas Goldschmidt, challenged the prosecutors to “find a single Jew who, based on the Torah, targeted mosques or churches.”

But an official for the local prosecutor’s office, who was not named, said the books confiscated were not scripture but textbooks. He declined to offer any further comment on the investigation, except to say that “by law, we have 30 days to investigate this issue, and, in some cases, this period may be extended.”

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