Moscow's chief rabbi, Pinkhas Goldschmidt has been banned from Russia for almost three months. At first, we were told his visa expired. Then there were rumors of a fight between Rabbi Goldschmidt and Chabad supporter Vladimir Slutsker, who headed the Russian Jewish Congress until his removal three weeks ago. Now the JTA is reporting that Russia's Internal Affairs Ministry has deemed Rabbi Goldschmidt an enemy of the state and permanently blocked Rabbi Goldschmidt's return to Russia.
Rabbi Goldschmidt's 'crime'? Russia does not say, but it would appear to be a combination of the following: Supporting democracy, opposing Putin's return to Stalinism, and not being Chabad. (All three are legal in Russia. None, however, are good career moves.)
In this sordid saga, one voice has been conspicuously silent – Chabad's 'chief rabbi' of Russia and Putin lackey Berel Lazar – who has not spoken up in support of Rabbi Goldschmidt. Lazar is a thug. It's time he was treated as one.
Earlier FailedMessiah.com coverage here.
Bloghead coverage here.