The Jewish Community Center of Moscow announced Monday that it has launched an NFT project titled “NFT-Tzedakah,” which is being branded as the “most modern way to give charity”, on NFT auction platform OpenSea.
The NFT project digitizes Judaica from the famed Moscow synagogue, such as digital replicas of the Moscow synagogue’s own “Bima,” which is the platform where the Torah is read, and their “Aron Kodesh,” the chamber where Torah scrolls are stored.
NFT’s (Non-Fungible Tokens) are data units – typically images, videos or audio clips – that are stored on the blockchain. NFT’s have grown tremendously in popularity over the last year, as the Ethereum-based tokens have gained adoption among the art community and have led to collectors getting in on the fun speculating on rising NFT prices. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sold an NFT of the company’s first-ever tweet in March 2021 for $2.9 million.
Rabbi Mordechai Kantor, rabbi of the Jewish student community at the Moscow School of Economics, initiated the project. The NFT collection includes four models of Judaica objects from the Moscow synagogue, as well as three tokens made from coins issued upon the synagogue's grand opening 22 years ago. The auction will last two weeks.
The project received the blessing of Rabbi Berel Lazar – the Chief Rabbi of Russia. Lazar penned a letter lending his support to the NFT project after examining the subject according to Halakha (Jewish Law) and working on the project for a total of six months.
"We must use good deeds in everything new that is revealed in the world – and now also with NFT tokens that have become commonplace recently,” the rabbi said. “Whoever buys the Jewish tokens, in addition to owning his digital version, also gives to the Jewish community."