Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Delegation to tour Russia in "Mitzvah tanks" to promote Judaism

A delegation of rabbis and students from Jewish religious schools in the U.S., Europe and Israel have embarked in a journey across Russia to promote orthodox Judaism.

The group will be traveling the country in specially-constructed vehicles called "Mitzvah tanks" which function as portable mini-synagogues. The tanks will travel through a total of 70 Russian cities, including Volgograd, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk, Krasnodar, Sochi, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Orenburg, Vladimir, Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol, RT.com reports.

This year, the "Mitzvah tanks" will visit Crimea during its outreach campaign to promote the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidsm theology, which is closely related to orthodox Judaism.

The participants in the cross-country outreach program first gathered in Moscow, where they were divided into four different groups. Each group was given a different territory of Russia as a destination--the south, the Urals, Siberia and Central Russia. The Mitzvah tanks are scheduled to return to Moscow on Aug. 24, according to RT.com.

"In most cases, people are interested in the basics of the Jewish faith," said Russian Federation of Jewish Communities head Andrey Glotser said, RT.com reports. "They try to understand what they believe the Jews, what kind of religion, and what is canon."

Orthodox Jews have been traveling in Mitzvah tanks to promote their beliefs since 1974, when the first tank traveled the streets of New York City to offer guidance to recent Jewish immigrants to the U.S.

The tanks are painted stone yellow and are covered with Jewish symbols and scripture quotes. Several tanks are equipped with external loudspeakers to play klezmer-style music as they travel, according to RT.com.