New Armenian Bodies To Resolve Community’s Problems

New Armenian Bodies To Resolve Community’s Problems

The Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS (FJC), Russia
May 17 2004

YEREVAN, Armenia – On May 12th, the Jewish Community Center ‘Mordechay
Navi’ of Yerevan hosted a meeting between Rabbi Gersh Meir Burshtein
and the head of the Armenian Department on National Minorities, Granush
Kharatyan, and the Director of the Religious Affairs Department Vardan
Asatryan. The two government officials represented a group of elected
deputies who are responsible for relations with national organizations
in the country.

At the outset of 2004 and as a result of national organizations’
activities, which managed to draw the government’s attention, the
Armenian government founded these two state bodies. At the same time,
Armenia’s entry to the Council of Europe has meant that the Armenian
government has had to meet a series of international obligations with
respect to national minorities’ organizations. Thus, the Armenian
government has is already developing a law on national minorities.

During the meeting, the officials gave a positive evaluation about
the activities carried out the Jewish community of Armenia, especially
their work in reviving Jewish life in Yerevan and the country’s other
regions. Rabbi Burshtein, in his turn, stressed the importance of
the state’s assistance to national communities and noted that the
law on national minorities was essential in this regard, at the same
time noting the limitations that today’s laws do not account for the
size of national communities and do not allow national schools to
undergo registration and obtain a free buildings for its educational
institutions.

Rabbi Burnshtein also emphasized the need to reconstruct old Jewish
cemeteries and to restitute the property of national communities.
Today, the Jewish community of Armenia remains helpless to prove that
the destruction of the city’s old Jewish synagogue, despite the fact
that it appears on old city’s maps. Unfortunately, no official data
confirms the fact that the synagogue once existed but was eventually
destroyed.

Rabbi Burshtein hopes that the new state bodies will mean the
resolution of the many essential needs still existing for Armenia’s
Jewish community.

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