The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) honored the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, Russia with an award for its efforts in spreading tolerance and understanding. The award comes just more than a month after the same U.N. body passed two resolutions ignoring Jewish ties to holy sites in Jerusalem.
The museum received the award, which comes with a $100,000 prize, at a ceremony in Paris. Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar said that “spreading tolerance is an absolutely necessary thing for Russia,” adding that the Jewish community in Russia is “involved in this as much as they can be, specifically after the opening of the Jewish Museum and the Tolerance Center in Moscow in 2012,” Russia’s Interfax News Agency reported.
The $50 million Moscow museum, which was partially funded by the Russian government, opened in 2012 to much fanfare. The museum details the history of the Jewish people, including portions dedicated to the Holocaust as well as the Russian roots of Zionism.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been particularly interested in promoting the museum. He has visited the venue three times, and during his most recent visit pledged to donate a portion of his monthly salary to the museum. All public school students in Moscow also visit the museum.