The Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berl Lazar, made a very unusual visit today. He went to the Butirsky Prison in the center of Moscow in order to strengthen and encourage the Jewish prisoners who are serving time there amongst the three thousand prisoners of various degrees.
The prison warden greeted him respectfully and escorted him to the prison’s shul, which has been active for more than ten years.
After davening, the Chief Rabbi lit the Chanuka candles.
The Jewish prisoners were then treated to a Chanuka party during which Rabbi Lazar spoke about the Chanuka miracle.
Army Chaplain Rabbi Aharon Gurevitch also spoke, encouraging the prisoners to keep their spirits strong by adhering to as many mitzvos as they can, even while incarcerated in jail.
As the party drew to an end, the prisoners were gifted with Chanuka treats as well as personal menorahs and candles so that they can continue to celebrate the holiday and light candles each night.