OU Pained by Destruction of Synagogue In Dushanbe, Tajikistan
President Stephen J. Savitsky and Executive Vice President Rabbi Tzvi H. Weinreb issued the following statement:
Jews, and all who cherish religious freedom and culture, share the pain of the Dushanbe Jewish community following the demolition of their city’s one and only synagogue, one the largely elderly and underprivileged community cannot afford to rebuild. We expect that the government of a state such as Tajikistan would be religiously tolerant rather than exert control of private religious property for the sake of presidential largesse. We are disturbed by the government’s justification for demolishing the city’s only synagogue, mikvah, classroom and kosher butcher that serviced the approximately 280 Jews that reside in the city: to make way for the a brand new presidential palace. We call upon the government of Tajikistan to negotiate in good will with the Jewish community of Dushanbe so that they can recreate their communal and religious center.