Jewish 100: Berel Lazar – Religion
Chief Rabbi of Russia
Rabbi Lazar has been the chief representative of Russian Jewry since close to the fall of the former Soviet Union in 1991. A country with a long hostile history towards Jews, Lazar has been part of the miraculous renaissance of Russian Jewry in the last two decades, overseeing hundreds of Jewish centers in many cities across the Russian peninsula. In 2004, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an edict to honor him with the Order of Friendship. In that same year he was honored with a national public award, the ‘Minin and Pozharsky’ Order “for his great personal contribution to strengthening the moral and cultural fabric of the Russian State” and for reviving spiritual life and religious freedom in the country.