Jews Choose People of the Year
(RIA Novosti, by Marianna Belenkaya) — The presentation
of the Man
of the Year 5766 title by the Federation of Jewish
Communities of Russia was held, as the world’s Jewish
community celebrates Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.
Rabbi of Russia Berl Lazar said: "Presenting the Man of
the Year title during the Hanukkah week has become a tradition."
title was set up in 2002 and is granted to people, irrespective
of nationality and religion, who have made a practical contribution
to their country’s cultural and social development. The number
and categories of nominations differs from year to year, and
the winners are selected by the Federation’s council of trustees,
which is made up of the communities’ sponsors and prominent
cultural and public figures. Russian businessman Roman Abramovich
is among the council trustees.
year the title was granted in nine nominations. The winners
Klin, a political commentator with the popular daily Izvestia,
for a series of analytical articles about Jewish traditions
director Vladimir Molchanov, for his documentary titled "The
Melodies of the Riga Ghetto" (Television).
Ignatenko, president of the Institute of Religion and Politics,
for his honest and unbiased stand on the Middle East conflict
Zalman Yoffe from Volgograd, for promoting spiritual development
and traditional Jewish values in Russian Jewish communities
Eifman, art director of the St. Petersburg Academic Ballet
and Vyacheslav Aminovs, for their contribution to the development
of Jewish education and community life in Russia (Patron).
Rozovsky, art director of the Moscow-based Nikitsky Gate Theater,
for his invaluable contribution to Russian theater and his
play Singing Mikhoels (Theater).
attendant Viktoria Zilbershtein, for heroism displayed during
the crash of the A310 Airbus in Irkutsk on July 9, 2006 (Courage).
and translator Asar Eppel, for the idea and organization of
the Prose of the Jewish Life book series (Publishing).
winner received a Fiddler on the Roof sculpture made by Israeli
sculptor Frank Meisler for the ceremony, as well as a money
prize, the amount of which is not disclosed.
the beginning of the ceremony, Lev Leviev, president of the
Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS, presented a special
diploma to Arkady Gaidamak for his assistance and support to
Israel during the war against Hizbollah. The businessman had
organized a big tent camp on the Mediterranean for refugees
from northern Israel.
to the Federation’s press service, Gaidamak was not nominated
for Man of the Year because he had received this award several
years ago and the prize is awarded only once in a lifetime.
But his services were not left unnoticed.
who monitored the ceremony described Leviev’s presentation
of the diploma to Gaidamak as a gesture of reconciliation between
businessmen work in Russia and Israel, and claim leadership
in the Russian Jewish community and in the Israeli Russian-speaking
is head of the Congress of Jewish Communities and Organizations,
one of Russia’s three largest national Jewish organizations,
and Leviev is president of the Federation of Jewish Communities
of the CIS.
rivalry continues on the football field: Gaidamak owns the
Beitar Jerusalem football club, and Leviev has a stake in Hapoel
handshake at the Man of the Year ceremony does not mean that
they will work together in the Russian Jewish community, although
they could join forces for Israeli projects.
Russian Jewish Congress, which is friendly with Gaidamak’s
Congress of Jewish Communities and Organizations, celebrated
the Hanukkah separately from Leviev’s Federation, although
the event took place on the same day. This forced the Russian
elite and member of the Jewish community to choose between
the two venues.
Russian Jewish Congress simultaneously celebrated Hanukkah,
the 10th anniversary since the congress’s establishment, and
the 100th birth anniversary of world-famous documentary director
Roman Karmen. President of the Congress, businessman Vyacheslav
Kantor, said Hanukkah was a festival of lights and enlightenment,
which is also the goal of his organization.
also said the celebration of Karmen’s 100th anniversary marked
the beginning of a new project, "Russian Jews in their
Image in the Public Mind," aimed at "telling the
world about Russian Jews who made a major contribution to the
development of Russian and global culture, science, and other
celebration of Hanukkah in Moscow traditionally began with
the lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah nine-candle holder by
Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov near the Kremlin Wall. The weeklong
festival will include official celebrations and informal parties.