RONALD S. LAUDER - PRESIDENT of World Jewish Congress
New York, 19 October 2014
Mr Gavriel Mirashvili
Dear Mr. Mirashvili,
In my capacity as President of the World Jewish Congress, which represents some 100 Jewish communities around the world on six continents, I am delighted to convey to you the heartfelt greetings of World Jewry on this momentous occasion.
Ever since our ancestors were exiled from the Land of Israel, Jews have been dispersed throughout the world. During the many centuries that have elapsed since that time, our people have known moments of triumph and tragedy. Often at the despotic whims of local rulers, they were forced to pick up and leave their homes. Many suffered a far worse fate—slaughter and destruction.
However, in contrast to that gloomy history, the Jewish experience in Georgia glimmers like a bright star. We have lived among Georgians for two thousand six hundred years, sharing the fate of this blessed land and its wonderful people. Indeed, in no other community in the Diaspora have we felt so at home for such an uninterrupted period of time. During the Holocaust, the darkest moment in human history, many Jews found sanctuary in Georgia. Throughout their common history, Georgians and Jews have treated each other like brothers and sisters. They say that Jews are the canary in the mineshaft. There have been all too few mines with such pure air as in Georgia, where Jews have been able to live in dignity and worship our common God for 2,600 years.
Therefore, no matter where Georgian Jews live—whether in Georgia, Israel, the United States, or elsewhere—they still love this country and its people and they feel at home here. Georgians have always lived by their proverb that "Every guest is God sent." There are countries that are far bigger, more powerful, and richer than Georgia, but none as warm and hospitable.
Ever since Georgia broke free from the shackles of Soviet Communism and regained its independence, they have demonstrated its friendship and warm feelings for the State of Israel and relations between the two countries are excellent. These flourishing ties are manifested in many ways, most notably in the cultural and commercial fields. We slaute your for your efforts in helping to foster those those toes and for building bridges between Georgia, Georgian Jews and world Jewry.
The State of Israel and Jews around the world are proud to be counted among Georgia's sincerest well-wishers. The great developments in this country under its young, yet very wise and capable prime minister, Irakli Garibashvi, and his team, fill us with happiness.
I wish you and all Georgians—Christians and Jews—peace and prosperity. May our children, our children's children, and all future generations continue to celebrate the unshakeable and inspiring bonds of friendship between Jews and Georgians.
Ronald S. Lauder