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NEWS - News of the Lodges

St Petersburg: Sons of the Testament - a new B'nai B'rith Lodge is installed
 
Report by Baruh Finkelshteyn, President of the Lodge

Even for me it became interesting to tell about the celebrations held in the period from April 28 to May 1. And I consider it to be my duty to inform all the Lodges of B'nai B'rith Europe of an event that concerns all and will please everyone.



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Our organization, in close collaboration with the leaders of the European B'nai B'rith, was preparing for a long time for the presentation of the St. Petersburg Jewish charitable public organization "Sons of the Testament B'nai B'rith." Additionally, it was decided to recognize our organization as a Lodge, as part of the international community.

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And then, finally, after many discussions about the dates and about the provision of financial assistance, 28-29th April we with a team of volunteers started to receive the guests who arrived from different European countries.

The following visitors were:
  • A large group from the Or Ve Chalom Lodge from Paris (26 people) headed by its President, Mrs. Nicole Benhamou;
  • Ms. Annie Darmon from Deborah-Sam Haffenberg Lodge in Vincennes
  • Mr. Victor Wagner, President of the Zwi Perez Chajes Lodge of Vienna, Austria
  • Guests from Finland, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom
  • Members of the Executive Committee of B'nai B'rith Europe:

* Ralph Hofmann, President,
* Chief Rabbi of Denmark Bent Melchior, Honorary BBE President,
* Armand Azoulai, Honorary Life Senior Vice President,
* Alex Faiman, Chair of Humanitarian Projects for Central and Eastern Europe,
* as well as Reinold Simon, Honorary Life President.

  • As President of the organization I held negotiations with leaders of different lodges and B'nai Brith Europe on friendship and cooperation between our organizations. With Ms. Nicole Benhamou, President of the Or Ve Chalom Lodge, we made an agreement of friendship between our two Lodges.
All this was very solemn and exciting for us.

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After the meeting in the Great Hall of ESOD the presentation began, it gathered a large number of representatives of Jewish organizations in St. Petersburg.

More than a hundred people with the respect and appreciation were listening to lots of solemn speeches and greetings, took part in the buffet table and watched a great concert programme.

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The concert part of the presentation was given by:

- Children's Vocal Ensemble "Keshet" Jewish school Sharoshim; - Children's Vocal Ensemble "Nigun Sameah" Jewish School Menachem; - A guest from Finland, with magnificent and beautiful voice, Ms. CATA MANSIKKA-AHO; - Beautiful singer, laureate of international competitions, from Russia, Natalia Kuzminskaya - Your humble servant, the chief cantor of the Synagogue, the singer and the President Baruh Finkelshteyn.

Time allotted for the presentation was not enough, as a result the presentation continued for 3 hours.

On April 30, Monday, a group of guests had an official courtesy visit to the office of Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga Most Reverend Vladimir, where two hour-long conversation with the deputy Protopriest Alexander took place.

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After lunch, a guided tour was organized around the city, which is known around the world as "Venice of the North."

In the evening the leaders of our Jewish organizations and leaders of the European B'nai Brith had an official dinner.

And finally, on May 1, our guests left for their home countries.

I think that all the participants of the visit have warm memories left.

The main thing is that we all have agreed on close relationships, cooperation and assistance to our still very young organization which requires strong support

We, on our part, thank everyone who helped us to organize such an extraordinary event and hope for further cooperation.