Russian Prosecutors Confiscate Chabad Jewish School’s Textbooks

Russian prosecutors confiscated books from a Jewish Chabad school in the city of Yekaterinburg following complaints that its students were taught to hate non-Jews.

The Or Avner school in Russia’s third largest city was raided last week, according to a report Wednesday on the Russian news website kommersant.ru.

Prosecutors had launched an investigation following a complaint by a parent of a student in the high school division of Or Avner, the report said. The parent said the teachings at the school infringe on the rights of members of other faiths.

An unnamed member of the Jewish community of Yekaterinburg, on the Europe-Asia border, told Kommersant that his community has appealed to the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the investigation, which the unnamed source said was unfounded and based on false information.

The Russian Jewish Congress also protested the move.

“Allegations of extremism, witchcraft and black magic in the Torah have been sought for in the Middle Ages,” said German Zaharyaev, vice president of the Russian Jewish Congress. “If any were found, it would have already been banned and not only in Yekaterinburg.”

A chief rabbi of Moscow, Pinchas Goldschmidt, challenged the prosecutors to “find a single Jew who, based on the Torah, targeted mosques or churches.”

But an official for the local prosecutor’s office, who was not named, said the books confiscated were not scripture but textbooks. He declined to offer any further comment on the investigation except to say that “by law, we have 30 days to investigate this issue, and in some cases this period may be extended.”

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