In accordance with Jewish tradition, the Jewish New Year is celebrated on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which usually falls in late September or early October. In 2019, the celebration was scheduled for the 29th and 30th of September. The holiday is not just a calendar benchmark, but a time of profound spiritual significance. It also begins a month that contains an entire series of Jewish holidays.On the Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah, Jewish people spend a large amount of time in synagogues and at meals with friends and family. One of the symbols of the holiday is an apple dipped in honey, which is typically eaten at the holiday meal as an optimistic omen for a sweet new year. At the same time, though, the holiday begins a 10-day period of personal introspection that calls for repentance for mistakes and wrongdoings that may have been made over the past year. The period ends with the holiest day of the year for Jews, the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur.
Charity Event Held in Honor of the Jewish New Year
The Russian Jewish Congress recently hosted a charity event at the Barvikha Luxury Village in Moscow just before and in honor of the Jewish New Year. The evening was considered the main event of the year for all Jewish communities throughout Russia. It was attended by over 500 guests, including public figures, businessmen, diplomats, philanthropists, and rabbis from across the globe as well as survivors of Nazi concentration camps. All charitable donations received at the event were allocated to support for the educational initiatives of the Russian Jewish Congress, which helps children from vulnerable backgrounds and fights anti-Semitism.
At the event, Russian Jewish Congress President Yuri Kanner delivered remarks. He stressed the importance of resolving issues within the Jewish community that have arisen over the past year and making peace with others.
As vice president of the World Jewish Congress, God Nisanov also attended the event together with his friends and colleague Zarakh Iliev. They are both members of the Mountain Jewish community. "In fact, I am honored to be the first member of the Mountain Jewish community to hold the position of WJC vice president in its over 80 years of existence. As the owners of Kievskaya Ploshchad, Zarakh Iliev and I not only invest extensively in the commercial property sector but also contribute financially and otherwise to several initiatives aimed at preserving culture and tradition as well as education. This year, I presented WJC President Ronald Lauder with the Global Influence Award" - said Mr Nisanov.
Acting to Preserve Culture and History Throughout Russia
"Zarakh Iliev and I believe in the importance of keeping tradition alive and are actively involved in several projects geared to preserving culture and history throughout Russia. In early 2019, we opened a large gastronomic quarter named Depo in the historic building previously known as the Miuskky Tram Depot, a cultural landmark in Russia. We decided to restore the building from a state of dilapidation to its former glory, repurposing and reviving it to make it greater than ever.
We make sure that Kievskaya Ploshchad takes the same meticulous approach to all its projects. In one of the company’s previous initiatives, we restored the Hotel Ukraine and relaunched it under the Radisson Royal brand. Although the hotel was extensively modernized, it retained its unique historic architecture. We also took it upon ourselves to restore the hotel’s extensive Soviet-era art collection at our own expense.
One of our most recent projects is the development of a new hotel complex in the Varvarka Street area close to the Kremlin. The hotel will be constructed based on 19-century architecture, which will result in it organically matching the environment in which it is located" - said God Nisanov.
Preserving the Traditions of the Mountain Jewish Community
One of their main objectives in charitable projects is to provide backing for initiatives that preserve Jewish tradition, especially that of the Mountain Jews. Currently, approximately 10,000 to 15,000 Jews reside in and around Moscow. "Many of these Jewish people, like us, are Mountain Jews from the village of Krasnaya Sloboda, Azerbaijan, which is known as the home of the world’s largest settlement of Mountain Jews." says Nisanov. The village has recently been featured in the media because of yet another exciting new project they have initiated. Zarakh Iliev and God Nisanov joined forces with the STMEGI Fund to open the first museum dedicated to Mountain Jews. The museum’s purpose is to help preserve our religious traditions, unique culture, and the ancient language of the Mountain Jews, Juuri.
To help Mountain Jews to remain in contact with one another and their homeland, they have decided to launch the Community Center of the Mountain Jews Association in Moscow. The center makes it simpler for everybody to gather together for religious events, to pray together, and to arrange cultural events. This is particularly important to the younger generations who no longer reside in Azerbaijan.
Keeping Jewish Culture Alive in Moscow
"We also actively contribute to other projects with the objective of educating the Jewish youth in their culture. One of our main projects was providing backing for the Cheder Menachem School in Moscow. For our efforts educating young Jewish people, we were proud to be awarded the Fiddler on the Roof award by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia" - said God Nisanov.