Today’s date is May 14, 2018. In calendar day in history, 70 years ago, on May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the Jewish State, declared the State of Israel an independent and sovereign state. On this momentous date, fast forward 70 years, under impressive international jubilee banner, Jerusalem, the city of gold, won; the city received her crown title back, being the capital of the Jewish people.
On May 14, 2018, the moving from Tel Aviv and the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem should be seen as a national and international milestone, and a turning point for the State of Israel. The American people should be just as thrilled as the Israelis, because the United States embassy’s opening is a crowning moment for the U.S. foreign policy and for President Donald Trump. It is also a crowning moment for Jews, the world over, and every nation that is seeking everlasting world peace.
As it so happened, on the same day of this moment in history, another beautiful moment was taking place 10,000 miles way, in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Nasimi Aghayev, the inexhaustible Consul General of Azerbaijan to the West Coast, USA, in collaboration with AJC (American Jewish Committee) and Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, invited a multi-faith delegation from Azerbaijan to the city to celebrate the harmony of coexistence of all faiths, what Azerbaijan is so proudly exporting to all corners of the world.
Hosted by Rabbi Erez Sherman of Sinai Temple and Scott Edelmann, AJC Los Angeles Chapter President, at the Sinai Temple auditorium a large crowd gathered to meet and greet the impressive Azerbaijani delegation, currently vising the State of California. The delegation includes Mubariz Gurbanli, Chairman of Azerbaijan State Committee on Work with Religious Associations, Alexandr Sharovsky, President of the Ashkenazi-Jewish Community, Milikh Yevdayev, a leader of the Religious Community of Mountain Jews of Azerbaijan, Yavgeny Brenneysen, Vice President of the Ashkenazi-Jewish Community, Fuad Nurullayev, Deputy to Sheikul-Islam, Archpriest Mefody Afandiyev of the Russian Orthodox Church and Robert Mobili, Head of the Caucasian Albanian Udi Christian Community.
Unlike what we sadly witness nowadays in many countries in the world, Azerbaijan, a majority Muslim nation, is mighty proud being a bastion of faith coexistence. Freedom of religion is the law of the land. With many conferences it holds annually in its capital, Baku, the government of Azerbaijan continuously opens its national doors, wide, to show and tell its pride, the freedom to practice one’s religion and the harmony of existence of Azerbaijani society.
Sinai Temple is a fervent supporter of Azerbaijan and its Jewish community. To expresses its strong support for Azerbaijan’s interfaith harmony, in 2015 the Temple donated a Sefer Torah Scroll to the Mountain Jews Synagogue in Baku.
Unlike the gloom we witness in many advanced Western nations, the Jews in Azerbaijan can practice their religion absolutely freely, without facing any threats or discrimination. So do all other minority faiths.
We all hope that the friendship between the Azerbaijani and Jewish people, the world over, will go from strength to strength over the many years to come. We all optimistically hope that Azerbaijan continues to be the beacon of interculturalism and exemplary of social harmony.
The Religion of Humanity is Azerbaijan’s official banner. Three religions gathering in Los Angeles on the day the State of Israel is celebrating her 70th birthday, in the hall of Sinai Temple is very much symbolic. Hopefully, this event sets up a model to follow in the years to come.