The Days When Moscow’s Main Synagogue Was Crawling With KGB Agents

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt has served as the Russian capital’s chief rabbi for 25 years, overseeing what he calls a ‘crazy’ time for the country’s 1 million Jews. He reflects on his spell serving the community and the unusual circumstances he's encountered

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Israel's then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaking during a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of Moscow's Choral Synagogue, October 2006.
Israel's then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaking during a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of Moscow's Choral Synagogue, October 2006. At one time, KGB agents were the main "congregants."Credit: Alexander Natruskin / REUTERS
Amie Ferris-Rotman
Amie Ferris-Rotman
Moscow
Amie Ferris-Rotman
Amie Ferris-Rotman
Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin with Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, right, at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, January 29, 2018.
Russian President Vladimir Putin with Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, right, at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, January 29, 2018.Credit: MAXIM SHEMETOV/ REUTERS
Jewish men celebrating Hanukkah at Manezhnaya Square in the center of Moscow, December 2007.
Jewish men celebrating Hanukkah at Manezhnaya Square in the center of Moscow, December 2007. Credit: REUTERS

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