(JTA) — The city state of Monaco, which is sandwiched between France and Italy, saw the largest Jewish gathering in its history during a visit to the principality by more than 1,000 Russian Jews.
The celebration Thursday, which was hosted by the tiny Jewish community of Monaco, was organized by its president, Aaron Frenkel, and Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar as part of the Eurostars program of Lazar’s Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia.
Launched in 2012 by Chabad rabbis in Russia, the Eurostars program annually brings hundreds of young Russian Jews on subsidized trips to Western and Central Europe to strengthen intercultural ties between Jewish communities. All trips include a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau former death camp in Poland.
Monaco, which has only a few hundred Jews, was selected as a destination this year for the first time so that the participants “can see how, even in a small community, it is possible to celebrate one’s Jewish identify openly,” Lazar said.
Eurostars came to Monaco to “show how a self-confident community, even when it’s very tiny, can still project its Jewishness openly and proudly,” Lazar said.