Los Angeles Jewish community expresses strong support for Azerbaijan’s interfaith harmony
On January 5, 2016, the renowned Los Angeles-based Jewish synagogue Sinai Temple hosted an event dedicated to the visit of the Temple’s 50-member delegation to Azerbaijan at the end of 2015. The said visit was organized on Oct. 30-Nov. 4, 2015 jointly by the Baku International Multiculturalism Center and Azerbaijan’s Consulate General in Los Angeles.
Opening the event, Chief Rabbi of the Sinai Temple David Wolpe, who is the most influential Jewish rabbi in the U.S. according to “Newsweek”, shared his impressions of Azerbaijan. He praised the country’s longstanding traditions of tolerance and interfaith harmony. Speaking of Azerbaijan’s Jewish community, which was donated a Sefer Torah by the Sinai Temple, Rabbi Wolpe stressed that unlike many advanced Western nations, the Jews in Azerbaijan can practice their religion absolutely freely, without facing any threats or discrimination. He expressed the hope that the friendship between the Azerbaijani and Jewish people will be strengthened even more over the many years to come.
In his remarks, Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev highlighted Azerbaijan’s remarkable history of interreligious and interethnic harmony and mutual acceptance. Consul General stressed that under President Ilham Aliyev’s leadership the traditions of interfaith tolerance and multiculturalism have become even stronger, turning Azerbaijan into an island of stability in an otherwise unstable region. Aghayev noted that the visit of the Sinai Temple delegation had given a tremendous boost to building strong bridges between Azerbaijan and the Jewish community of the United States.
President of the Sinai Temple’s Men’s Club Cary Lerman, the Men’s Club’s Vice-President Elie Alyeshmerni and Sinai Temple’s Vice-President Angela Maddahi stressed the importance of the visit in terms of better understanding Azerbaijan’s model of multiculturalism, its strong friendship with Israel, and building robust ties with the country’s vibrant Jewish community. The speakers noted that alongside the remarkable mutual respect and acceptance existing among different religions in Azerbaijan, the country also prides itself with an unparalleled Shia-Sunni harmony and understanding, which is even more relevant considering the latest tragic developments, especially the sectarian violence in the Middle East. Highlighting the life of Azerbaijan’s Jewish community and the special attention paid by Azerbaijan’s Government to ensuring an environment of multi-faith harmony and brotherhood, the speakers commended President Ilham Aliyev’s consistent policies of multiculturalism.
The event concluded with a slide-show presentation. Accompanied by Azerbaijani songs, the slide-show included many photos depicting the memorable moments of the delegation’s visit.