Russian President Vladimir Putin wished Russian Jews a Shana Tova, a sweet new year, in honor of the Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) holiday on Sunday, in a letter published to the Kremlin website.
"I congratulate Russian Jews on this Jewish New Year holiday," Putin began. "Every Jewish New Year is not just a salute to the historical and spiritual heritage of their fathers; on these days, it is fitting for everyone to appreciate the moral consequences of his actions, plan good deeds, forgive each other and to eliminate strife."
"Of course, during this holiday we also help out relatives […] and assist those in need," he added.
Putin then waxed philosophical about the holiday.
"For centuries, Jewish values have aspired to transcendence – for unity, for strength, and for mutual understanding," he continued. "Religious organizations of Russian Jews cling to ancient traditions that they are constantly utilizing to enhance reconciliation among the public, to develop a long a fruitful dialogue with other traditional religions, to combat any manifestation of anti-Semitism and xenophobia, and actively participate in charitable and educational projects."
"I wish the Russian Jews a happy and sweet New Year," he concluded. I wish you health, happiness and all the best."
According to a July 2014 CIA World Factbook estimate, some 184,000 Jews currently remain in Russia.