U.S. Jews voice strong support for Azerbaijan’s interfaith harmony

By Sara Rajabova

Los Angeles Jewish community in the United States has expressed strong support for Azerbaijan’s interfaith harmony.

The renowned Los Angeles-based Jewish synagogue Sinai Temple hosted on January 5 an event dedicated to the visit of the Temple’s 50-member delegation to Azerbaijan at the end of 2015.

The said visit was organized on October 30-November 4, 2015 jointly by the Baku International Multiculturalism Center and Azerbaijan’s Consulate General in Los Angeles.

Opening the event, Chief Rabbi of the Sinai Temple David Wolpe, who is the most influential Jewish rabbi in the U.S. according to “Newsweek”, shared his impressions of Azerbaijan.

He praised the country’s longstanding traditions of tolerance and interfaith harmony.

Azerbaijan has long been known in the world as a multiethnic and multi-religious country where the national policy is planned and carried out in the spirit of traditional tolerance and harmonic coexistence of different ethnic and religious groups.

Speaking of Azerbaijan’s Jewish community, which was donated a Sefer Torah by the Sinai Temple, Rabbi Wolpe stressed that unlike many advanced Western nations, the Jews in Azerbaijan can practice their religion absolutely freely, without facing any threats or discrimination.

He expressed hope that the friendship between the Azerbaijani and Jewish people will be strengthened even more over the many years to come.

Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev, for his part, highlighted Azerbaijan’s remarkable history of interreligious and interethnic harmony and mutual acceptance.

He stressed that under President Ilham Aliyev’s leadership the traditions of interfaith tolerance and multiculturalism have become even stronger, turning Azerbaijan into an island of stability in an otherwise unstable region.

Aghayev further noted that the visit of the Sinai Temple delegation had given a tremendous boost to building strong bridges between Azerbaijan and the Jewish community of the United States.

President of the Sinai Temple’s Men’s Club Cary Lerman, the Men’s Club’s Vice-President Elie Alyeshmerni and Sinai Temple’s Vice-President Angela Maddahi stressed the importance of the visit in terms of better understanding Azerbaijan’s model of multiculturalism, its strong friendship with Israel, and building robust ties with the country’s vibrant Jewish community.

Highlighting the life of Azerbaijan’s Jewish community and the special attention paid by Azerbaijan’s government to ensuring an environment of multi-faith harmony and brotherhood, the speakers commended President Ilham Aliyev’s consistent policies of multiculturalism.

The event concluded with a slide-show presentation. Accompanied by Azerbaijani songs, the slide-show included many photos depicting the memorable moments of the delegation’s visit.

Muslim mosques, Christian Orthodox, Catholic and Albanian-Udine churches, Jewish synagogues, which freely conduct religious ceremonies, are functioning in the Azerbaijani territory. Currently, 800 mosques, as well as 12 Orthodox, Catholic and Albanian-Udine churches and six synagogues operate in the country.

Representatives of all religions together take part in public events, religious feasts and ceremonies. Baku International Center of multiculturalism was created in Azerbaijan in 2014 with presidential decree.

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Sara Rajabova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @SaraRajabova

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