A new prayer-room was opened in a Moscow penitentiary last week, the 13th place of prayer for Jewish inmates throughout Russia in the country’s jails and penitentiary systems. The new prayer-room is shared with Muslim inmates, and the opening was attended by the chief rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, as well as chief mufti Izrat Halatudinov, generals from the Defense Ministry and city officials.
At the opening, rabbi Lazar affixed a Mezuzah on the door post and recited the blessing. He thanked the city officials for their help in the process and said that if even one Jew remains in jail, the community will care for him. “Spiritual guidance is especially important for people in such difficult life situations and we hope this helps them choose the right path,” he said.
The prayer-room is a unique joint initiative by Jewish and Muslim inmates that was acknowledged by both the rabbi and the mufti. “I am certain this place will help the inmates better understand each other and have deeper respect for the traditions and beliefs of those around them,” Berel Lazar said.
This is the 13th place of prayer for Jewish inmates in the country. Jewish inmates throughout Russia also get help with food products, books, lectures and legal consultations for them and their families.