Wednesday, February 8, 2017

American Rabbi in Russia Is Being Forced Out; Ari Edelkopf Seen as Threat to Russian Security

An American rabbi who has worked for the Chabad movement in Russia since 2002 said he and his family are facing deportation under a provision dealing with threats to national security, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website reports today (February 8, 2017).

Ari Edelkopf, a father of seven who grew up in the United States and lived in Israel before settling in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi as Chabad's envoy there, said that he was informed of the decision without receiving further information on specific allegations.

Amid a crackdown in Russia on organizations with foreign funding, Edelkop[f's staying permit was revoked in December. He lost an appeal in regional court, forcing him to leave Russia by February 11.

The Chabad-affiliated Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia condemned the move. Boruch Gorin, a federation spokesman, said this was "an attempt to establish control" on Jewish communities in Russia, which are serviced by some 70 rabbis, of whom half are foreign.

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