Leaders of Russia’s Jewish community have criticized a US federal court ruling that fined Russia for refusing to hand over ancient Chasidic texts.
Rabbi Zinovy Kogan of the Russian Jewish Congress told the Itar-Tass news agency January 17 that 12,000 books and 50,000 documents from the collection of Rabbi Joseph I. Schneerson, who led the Chabad-Lubavitch movement before his death in 1950, were “kept carefully and remain available to the general public” at the National State Library in Moscow.
On January 16, Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court in Washington DC fined the Russian government $50,000 for every day that it refuses to hand over the documents. In an earlier ruling, Lamberth ruled that the materials belonged to representatives of the Chabad movement.
But Kogan challenged Chabad’s claims to the collection, saying that the books were written “long before the emergence of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.”