Dimitry Medvedev, the president of Russia, has come to Birobidzhan, the only Yiddish-speaking Jewish homeland outside of Brooklyn.
Asked at the local airport why he had come to the Jewish Autonomous Republic, he said, ” If you only knew how hard it is to get decent pastrami in the Kremlin you would understand.”
Medvedev was accompanied by Russia’s Chief Rabbi and senior Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Lazar . Rabbi Lazar led the President on a tour of the local Jewish community center. He was next taken to the mikveh, the ritual bath, where he was thrown into the water amidst several men who were preparing for the coming of the messiah. The visit is part of a four day tour of the Russian Far East, where Medvedev will meet with members of the business community and attend a series of meetings at the city’s cultural center, synagogue and furniture factory.