An important event took place Jewish inmates at Prison number 8, located near Ulan Ude, the capital of Buryatia. A chapel has opened, making this the fifth Jewish House of Worship in corrections facilities in Russia. The opening of these mini-synagogues is part of an agreement between the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia and the Federal Penitentiary (FPS) of Russia.
At present, there are approximately 20 Jewish inmates serving sentences at Prison 8 who have expressed a desire to attend classes on Judaism, as well as prayer services. The administration of the prison has done everything possible to ensure that Jews feel comfortable in the chapel and that it will become a place of growth and inspiration.
The chairman of the Jewish community of Ulan Ude, Reuven (Vladimir) Balandin, who has been visiting and providing for the needs of Jewish prisoners for over a year now, said that he agreed to regularly offer lessons at the synagogue. A schedule has been set for the chairman’s visits to the inmates.
The director of Prison number 8, Internal Affairs Service Colonel S. Buldakov, waas actively involved in supporting this project and in helping locate a suitable space in the facility for the chapel.
In addition to the Federal Agreement, the local Jewish community has also signed a statement with the Buryat Regional Office of the FPS, regarding care for Jewish inmates to be provided by the Jewish community of Ulan Ude. The Jewish community of Ulan Ude is a proud member of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia.