The Stropkover Rebbe and Me


The Stropkover Rebbe has just completed a visit to Perth Australia from Jerusalem.

We were honoured to have him spend Shabbat with us at the CHABAD shul in Noranda WA.

He has visited Perth before.

I took the opportunity on Saturday night to learn more about him and his town.

The Rebbe was born in Germany and lives in Jerusalem. The Stropkover Rebbe’s “once upon a time” community was based in Stropkov in Slovakia.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
View of Stropkov
Coat of arms
Country Slovakia
Region Prešov
District Stropkov
River Ondava
Elevation 202 m (663 ft)
Coordinates 49°12′18″N 21°39′05″ECoordinates49°12′18″N 21°39′05″E
Area 24.667 km2 (9.524 sq mi)
Population 10,866 (2012-12-31)
Density 441 / km2 (1,142 / sq mi)
First mentioned 1404

Stropkov (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈstropkow]HungarianSztropkópronounced [ˈstropkoː]Yiddishסטראפקאוו‎) is a town in Stropkov DistrictPrešov RegionSlovakia.

Jewish community

Jews first arrived in Stropkov, possibly fleeing Polish pogroms, in about 1650. About fifty years later, the Jews were exiled from Stropkov to Tisinec, a village just to the north. They did not return to Stropkov until about 1800. The Stropkov Jewish cemetery was dedicated in 1892, after which the Tisinec cemetery fell into disuse.

In 1939 the antisemitic Hlinka Party gain control of the Stropkov Town Council. From May–October 1942 the Hlinka deported Jews from the Stropkov area to AuschwitzSobiborMaidanek, and “unknown destinations”. By the end of World War II, only 100 Jews remained in Stropkov out of 2000 in 1942.

Chief Rabbis of Stropkov

The first rabbi of Tisinec and Stropkov was Rabbi Moshe Schonfeld. He left Stropkov for a position in Vranov. He was succeeded in 1833 by Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Teitelbaum (I)(1818–1883) who served as Stropkov’s chief rabbi until leaving for a post in Ujhely. The next incumbent was Rabbi Chaim Yosef Gottlieb (1790–1867), known as the “Stropkover Rov”. He was succeeded by Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam (1811–1899), a son of Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz. His scholarship, piety, and personal charisma transformed Stropkov into one of the most respected chasidic centers in all Galicia and Hungary. Rabbi Moshe Yosef Teitelbaum (1842–1897), the son of the aforementioned Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, was appointed as Stropkov’s next chief rabbi in 1880.

The charismatic and scholarly Rabbi Yitzhak Hersh Amsel (c1855–1934), the son of Peretz Amsel of Stropkov, was first appointed as a dayan in Stropkov and then as the rabbi of Zborov (near Bardejov). As legend has it, Rabbi Yitzhak Hersh Amsel died while praying in his Zborov synagogue. He is buried in the Stropkov cemetery where a small protective building ohel was erected over his grave to preserve it. Rabbi Amsel was succeeded in 1897 by Rabbi Avraham Shalom Halberstam (1856–1940). Jews, learned and simple alike, sought the advice and blessing of this “miracle rabbi of Stropkov”, revered as a living link in the chain of Chassidus of Sanz and Sienawa. Rabbi Halberstam served in Stropkov for some forty years, until the early 1930s, when he assumed a rabbinical post in the larger town of Košice. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Halberstam (1873–1954),the son of the aforementioned Rabbi Avraham Shalom Halberstam was then appointed chief rabbi of Stropkov and head of the Talmud Torah. After World War II Rabbi Menachem Mendel Halberstam lived in New York until the end of his life, teaching at the Stropkover Yeshiva, which he founded in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The present day Admor of Stropkov is HaRav Avraham Shalom Halberstam of Jerusalem. The Admor runs several yeshivas and kolelim in Jerusalem and other cities in Israel. The Admor dedicates himself to Ahavat Yisrael and to helping many who need to return to their Jewish roots.


I then went into my Geni account and looked up the Stropkover Rebbe and found what appeared to be his family line.

I recalled that on Shabbat, he had been called up to the torah as HaRav Avraham Shalom ben Yechezkel Shrage.

Havdalah after Shabbat.


On Sunday I printed out this page on Geni and showed it to the Rebbe who confirmed that this was indeed him – i.e. Avraham Shalom Lipschutz (Halberstam). He also confirmed that his mother was Beila, daughter of Avraham Shalom Halberstam.


I also printed out the Geni page which shows our relationship and presented a copy to the Rebbe.


So, besides all the friends he has Downunder, he now is happy to have added a 8th cousin in this isolated Jewish community!

We are both members of the Katzenellenbogen Rabbinic Tree.


Warsaw, Poland

With Helise Lieberman
With Helise Lieberman

The Polin Museum

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POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich
Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw 011.JPG

The museum building
Established 2005 (opened April 2013)
Location Warsaw, Poland
Coordinates 52°14′58″N 20°59′34″E
Type Historical, cultural
Collection size History and culture of Polish Jews
Visitors expected 450,000
Director Dariusz Stola
Curator Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Website Museum official website

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (PolishMuzeum Historii Żydów Polskich) is a museum on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto. The Hebrew word Polin in the museum’s name means, in English, either “Poland” or “rest here” and is related to a legend on the arrival of the first Jews in Poland.[1] The cornerstone was laid in 2007, and the museum was first opened on April 19, 2013.[2][3] The museum’s Core Exhibition opened in October 2014.[4] The museum features a multimedia narrative exhibition about the vibrant Jewish community that flourished in Poland for a thousand years up to the Holocaust.[5] The building, a postmodern structure in glass, copper, and concrete, was designed by Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma.[6



President of the Republic of PolandLech Kaczynski, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the POLIN Museum, 26 June 2007

The idea for creating a major new museum in Warsaw dedicated to the history of Polish Jews was initiated in 1995 by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.[7] In the same year, the Warsaw City Council allocated the land for this purpose in Muranów, Warsaw’s prewar Jewish neighborhood and site of the former Warsaw Ghetto, facing the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes. In 2005, the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland established a unique private-public partnership with the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the City of Warsaw. The Museum’s first director was Jerzy Halbersztadt. In September 2006, a specially designed tent called Ohel (the Hebrew word for tent in English) was erected for exhibitions and events on the museum’s future location.[7]

An international architectural competition for designs for the building was launched in 2005, supported by a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. On June 30, 2005 the jury announced the winner; a team of two Finnish architects, Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma.[8] On June 30, 2009 construction of the building was officially inaugurated. The project was to be finished in 33 months at a cost of PLN 150 million zlotyallocated by the Ministry and the City.[9] and a total cost of PLN 320 million zloty.[10][11]

The museum opened the building and began its educational and cultural programs on April 19, 2013 on the 70th Anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. During the 18 months that followed, more than 180,000 visitors toured the building, visited the first temporary exhibitions, and took part in cultural and educational programs and events, including films, debates, workshops, performances, concerts and lectures. The Grand Opening, with the completed Core Exhibition, was on October 28, 2014.[12] The Core Exhibition documents and celebrates the thousand-year history of the Jewish community in Poland that was decimated by the Holocaust.[4][5]

In 2016 the museum won the European Museum of the Year Award from the European Museum Forum.[13]


The Jewish Historical Institute

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Three videos from Matan Shefi, whom I bumped in the street, not far from Polin


Jewish Historical Institute

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Jewish Historical Institute (PolishŻydowski Instytut Historyczny or ŻIH) is a research institute in WarsawPoland, primarily dealing with the history of Jews in Poland.


The Jewish Historical Institute was created in 1947 as a continuation of the Central Jewish Historical Commission, founded in 1944. The Jewish Historical Institute Association is the corporate body responsible for the building and the Institute’s holdings. The Institute falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. In 2009 it was named after Emanuel Ringelblum. The institute is a repository of documentary materials relating to the Jewish historical presence in Poland. It is also a centre for academic research, study and the dissemination of knowledge about the history and culture of Polish Jewry.

The most valuable part of the collection is the Warsaw Ghetto Archive, known as the Ringelblum Archive (collected by the Oyneg Shabbos). It contains about 6000 documents (about 30 000 individual pieces of paper).

Other important collections concerning World War II include testimonies (mainly of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust), memoirs and diaries, documentation of the Joint and Jewish Self-Help (welfare organizations active in Poland under the occupation), and documents from the Jewish Councils (Judenräte)

The section on the documentation of Jewish historical sites holds about 40 thousand photographs concerning Jewish life and culture in Poland.

The Institute has published a series of documents from the Ringelblum Archive, as well as numerous wartime memoirs and diaries.[1]

In 2011, Paweł Śpiewak, a Professor of Sociology at Warsaw University and former politician, was nominated as the Director of the Jewish Historical Institute by Bogdan Zdrojewski, Minister of Culture and National Heritage.[2]

The Nosyk Synagogue

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Nożyk Synagogue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nożyk Synagogue
Synagoga Nożyków
Basic information
Location WarsawPoland
Geographic coordinates 52°14′10″N 21°00′04″ECoordinates52°14′10″N 21°00′04″E
Affiliation Orthodox Judaism
District Śródmieście
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Active Synagogue
Leadership Rabbi Michael Schudrich
Architectural description
Architect(s) Karol Kozłowski
Architectural style neoromanesque
Completed 1902
Construction cost 250.000 rubles
Capacity 600

Interior of the synagogue

The Nożyk Synagogue (PolishSynagoga Nożyków) is the only surviving prewar Jewish house of prayer in Warsaw, Poland. It was built in 1898-1902 and was restored after World War II. It is still operational and currently houses the Warsaw Jewish Commune, as well as other Jewish organizations.


Before World War II the Jewish community of Warsaw, one of the largest Jewish communities in the world at that time, had over 400 houses of prayer at its disposal. However, at the end of 19th century only two of them were separate structures, while the rest were smaller chapels attached to schools, hospitals or private homes. The earliest Round Synagogue in the borough of Praga served the local community since 1839, while the Great Synagogue (erected in 1878) was built for the reformed community. Soon afterwards a need arose to build a temple also for the orthodox Jewry. Between 1898 and 1902 Zalman Nożyk, a renowned Warsaw merchant, and his wife Ryfka financed such temple at Twarda street, next to the neighbourhood of Grzybów and Plac Grzybowski. The building was designed by a famous Warsaw architect, Karol Kozłowski, author of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra Hall.[1] The façade is neo-romanticist, with notable neo-Byzantine elements. The building itself is rectangular, with the internal chamber divided into three aisles.

The synagogue was officially opened to the public on May 26, 1902. In 1914 the founders donated it to the Warsaw Jewish Commune, in exchange for yearly prayers in their intention. In 1923 the building was refurbished by Maurycy Grodzieński, who also designed a semi-circular choir that was attached to the eastern wall of the temple. In September 1939 the synagogue was damaged during an air raid. During World War II the area was part of the Small Ghetto and shared its fate during the Ghetto Uprising and then the liquidation of the Jewish community of Warsaw by the Nazis. After 1941 the Germans used the building as stables and a depot. After the war the demolished building was partially restored and returned to the Warsaw Jewish Commune, but the reconstruction did not start. It was completely rebuilt between 1977 and 1983 (officially opened April 18, 1983). It was also then that a new wing was added to the eastern wall, currently housing the seat of the commune, as well as several other Jewish organizations.

Ghetto Wall Marking




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Chopin and Kopernicus

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The Storm

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The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (PolishGrób Nieznanego Żołnierza) is a monument in WarsawPoland, dedicated to the unknown soldiers who have given their lives for Poland. It is one of many such national tombs of unknowns that were erected after World War I, and the most important such monument in Poland.[1]

The monument, located at Piłsudski Square, is the only surviving part of the Saxon Palace that occupied the spot until World War II. Since 2 November 1925 the tomb houses an unidentified body of a young soldier who fell during the Defence of Lwów. At a later date earth from numerous battlefields where Polish soldiers have fought was added to the urns housed in the surviving pillars of the Saxon Palace.

The Tomb is constantly lit by an eternal flame and assisted by a guard post by the Representative Battalion of the Polish Army. It is there that most official military commemorations take place in Poland and where foreign representatives lay wreaths when visiting Poland.

The changing of the guard takes place on the hour of every hour daily and this happens 365 days a year.


In 1923, a group of unknown Varsovians placed, before Warsaw’s Saxon Palace and the adjacent Saxon Garden, a stone tablet commemorating all the unknown Polish soldiers who had fallen in World War I and the subsequent Polish-Soviet War. This initiative was taken up by several Warsaw newspapers and by General Władysław Sikorski. On April 4, 1925, the Polish Ministry of War selected a battlefield from which the ashes of an unknown soldier would be brought to Warsaw. Of some 40 battles, that for Lwów was chosen. In October 1925, at Lwów’s Cemetery of the Defenders of Lwów, three coffins were exhumed: those of an unknown sergeant, corporal and private. The coffin that was to be transported to Warsaw was chosen by Jadwiga Zarugiewiczowa, mother of a soldier who had fallen at Zadwórze and whose body had never been found.

On November 2, 1925, the coffin was brought to Warsaw’s St. John’s Cathedral, where a Mass was held. Afterward eight recipients of the order of Virtuti Militari bore the coffin to its final resting place beneath the colonnade joining the two wings of the Saxon Palace. The coffin was buried along with 14 urns containing soil from as many battlegrounds, a Virtuti Militari medal, and a memorial tablet. Since then, except under German occupation during World War II, an honor guard has continuously been held before the Tomb.


The Tomb was designed by the famous Polish sculptor, Stanisław Kazimierz Ostrowski. It was located within the arcade that linked the two symmetric wings of the Saxon Palace, then the seat of the Polish Ministry of War. The central tablet was ringed by 5 eternal flames and 4 stone tablets bearing the names and dates of battles in which Polish soldiers had fought during World War I and the Polish–Soviet War (1919–21). Behind the Tomb were two steel gratings bearing emblems of Poland’s two highest Polish military decorations — the Virtuti Militari and Cross of Valor.

During the 1939 invasion of Poland, the building was slightly damaged by German aerial bombing, but it was quickly rebuilt and seized by the German authorities. After the Warsaw Uprising, in December 1944, the palace was completely demolished by the Wehrmacht. Only part of the central colonnade, sheltering the Tomb, was preserved.

After the war, in late 1945, reconstruction began. Only a small part of the palace, containing the Tomb, was restored by Henryk Grunwald. On 8 May 1946 it was opened to the public. Soil from 24 additional battlegrounds was added to the urns, as well as more tablets with names of battles in which Poles had fought in World War II. However, the communist authorities erased all trace of the Polish–Soviet War of 1920, and only a few of the Polish Armed Forces’ battles in the West were included. This was corrected in 1990, after Poland had regained its political autonomy.

There are plans to rebuild the Saxon Palace, but as of May 2016, these plans have been indefinitely on hold due to a lack of budget.[citation needed]

The Hotel Bristol

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Hotel Bristol, Warsaw

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hotel Bristol, Warsaw
Hotel Bristol 2011.JPG

Hotel Bristol, Warsaw (2011)
General information
Location WarsawPoland
Address Krakowskie Przedmiescie 42/44
Opening November 19, 1901
Owner Towarzystwo Akcyjne Budowy i Prowadzenia Hotelów, (1901-1928),
Bank Cukrownictwa (1928-1948),
City of Warsaw (1947-1952),
Orbis (1952-1977),
University of Warsaw (1977-1981),
Orbis (1981-2011),
Rosmarinum Investments (2011-)
Management Starwood Hotels
Design and construction
Architect Władysław Marconi
Other information
Number of rooms 168
Number of suites 38

Hotel Bristol, Warsaw is a historic luxury hotel opened in 1901 located on Krakowskie Przedmieście in Poland‘s capital, Warsaw



Hotel Bristol in 1901

The Hotel Bristol was constructed from 1899-1900 on the site of the Tarnowski Palace by a company whose partners included Polish pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski. A competition was held for the design of the building, and architects Thaddeus Stryjeriski and Franciszek Mączyński won with their Art Nouveau design. However the builders decided to change the style to a Neo-Renaissance design, and brought in architect Władysław Marconi to design the final hotel. Some of its interiors were designed by the noted Viennese architect Otto Wagner. The cornerstone was laid on April 22, 1899 and the hotel was dedicated on November 17, 1901 and opened on November 19, 1901.


Elegant cafe in the Bristol designed by Otto Wagner, 1901

After Poland gained its independence in 1919, Paderewski became the Prime Minister and held the first session of his government at his hotel. Paderewski and his partners sold their shares in the hotel in 1928 to a local bank, which renovated the hotel in 1934 with modern interiors by designer Antoni Jawornicki.

Upon the German invasion in 1939, the hotel was made into the headquarters of the Chief of the Warsaw District. It miraculously survived the war relatively unscathed, standing nearly alone among the rubble of its neighborhood. Following the war, the hotel was renovated and reopened in 1945.


Hotel lobby

The City of Warsaw took over operation of the hotel in 1947 and it was nationalized in 1948 and joined the state-run Orbis chain in 1952, exclusively serving visitors from abroad. By the 1970s its outdated facilities had seen it demoted to a second class ranking by the government and the hotel was donated by Prime Minister Peter Jaroszewicz to the University of Warsaw in 1977 to eventually serve as their library. It closed in 1981. However no work was done and the building languished through the waning days of the Communist government.

After the fall of Communism in 1989, the hotel was finally completely restored it to its former glory from 1991-1993, with the original interiors of the public rooms recreated to match the 1901 designs. The Bristol was reopened on April 17, 1993, with Margaret Thatcherin attendance, as part of the British Forte Hotels chain. From 1998 to 2013, the hotel was part of the Le Méridien hotel chain. The exterior was further restored in 2005, and the interior redecorated in 2013, after which the hotel joined The Luxury Collection division of Starwood Hotels.

Warsaw Uprising Youth Monument

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Mały Powstaniec

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Little Insurgent
Mały Powstaniec
Pomnik Malego Powstanca.JPG
Coordinates 52°14′59″N 21°0′34″ECoordinates52°14′59″N 21°0′34″E
Location Warsaw Old TownWarsawPoland
Designer Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz
Material Bronze sculpture
Completion date 1 October 1983
Dedicated to The child soldiers of the Warsaw Uprising

Mały Powstaniec (the “Little Insurgent”) is a statue in commemoration of the child soldiers who fought and died during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. It is located on Podwale Street, next to the ramparts of Warsaw’s Old Town.

The statue is of a young boy wearing a helmet too large for his head and holding a submachine gun. It is reputed to be of a fighter who went by the pseudonym of “Antek”, and was killed on 8 August 1944 at the age of 13. The helmet and submachine gun are stylized after German equipment, which was captured during the uprising and used by the resistance fighters against the occupying forces.

Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz[1] created the design for the monument in 1946, which was later used to make smaller copies of its present state. The statue was unveiled on October 1, 1983 by Professor Jerzy Świderski – a cardiologist who was a courier for the resistance during the uprising (pseudonym: “Lubicz”) serving in the Gustaw regiment of the Armia Krajowa. Behind the statue is a plaque with the engraved words of “Warszawskie Dzieci” (“Warsaw Children”), a popular song from the period: “Warszawskie dzieci, pójdziemy w bój – za każdy kamień twój, stolico damy krew” (“We’re the children of Warsaw, going into battle – for every stone of yours, we will give our blood”).

More Warsaw

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Warsaw at night

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Lublin, Poland


My thanks to Emil Majuk for showing me around and for being such an excellent guide!

The Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva Synagogue

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Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva Synagogue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Synagogue in Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva
Synagoga w Jeszywas Chachmej Lublin
Basic information
Location LublinPoland
Affiliation Orthodox Judaism
Status active
Materials brick

The Synagogue in Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva is a synagogue located in LublinPoland, in the building of Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, on Lubartowska 85 (originally 57) Street.


The synagogue was completed in 1930 along with the rest of the complex of the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva. Apart from religious functions, it was used as a lecture hall for the yeshiva[1] [2] , having been able to seat over 200 students. During the Second World War, the building was vandalized by the Nazis, and all of the contents were damaged or dispersed.

After the war, the building of the yeshiva was taken over by the Medical University of Lublin. The room of the synagogue was redecorated and adjusted to needs of the University. The colouring of walls and columns was changed, and the windows located on the Eastern wall were bricked up.

In late 2003, the building was returned to the Jewish Community of Warsaw, which decided to redecorate and reconstruct the synagogue. The restoration commenced in May 2005, following the University’s departure from the structure. A rotten ceiling over the prayer room was replaced, and a new parquet floor was laid. Relying in part on pre-War photographs, the original colouring of columns and the windows on the Eastern wall were recreated. Also, the bimah and steps to Ark, which were surrounded by a balustrade, were restored.

However, the Ark could not be recreated at the time. In its place, a wardrobe and 2-metre (7 ft) high chandelier with 16 lights was installed. In the second half of 2007, the kehilla ordered the missing elements of the interior.

Renewed opening

Official opening of the synagogue took place on February 11, 2007. As the reconstruction of the interior of the synagogue was funded entirely by the Polish-Jewish Community, it was the first such ceremony in the post-War Poland.

During the ceremony, two replicas of mezuzahs with Polish Eagle were placed- the first one on the front door of Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, and the other one on door of the synagogue. The original mezuzah had been donated during the opening in 1930 by a tzadik from Czortków(now ChortkivUkraine), Israel Friedman. Next, the chief rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich carried in a Sefer Torah, funded on June 17, 2005 by Americans Harley and Marie Lippman, on the occasion of their daughter Juliet’s Bat Mitzvah. Originally the Torah was located in Nożyk Synagogue in Warsaw, but on January 22, 2006 it was carried into the Small Synagogue in Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, after which it was returned to Warsaw. The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland donated a gold-plated menorah and a plaque about the extermination of the Jews of Lublin.

There was over 600 guests for the ceremony, including representatives of Polish and foreign Jewish community as well people from university, cultural and religious fields: Michael SchudrichPiotr Kadlčik, chairman of Lublin branch of the Jewish Community of Warsaw Roman LitmanIsrael‘s ambassador to Poland David Pelegmetropolitan archbishop of Lublin Józef Życiński, president of Lublin Adam Wasilewski, representatives of local government, rabbi Yehiel Kaufman from Borough Park, BrooklynJehuda Widawski, inhabitant of Lublin and other guests.[3] [4]

For more info, visit the Lublin KehilaLink

The Hotel Ilan

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The Mikvah in the Hotel
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The Old Jewish Cemetery

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Old Jewish Cemetery, Lublin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Old Jewish Cemetery, Lublin
Stary cmentarz żydowski w Lublinie macewy5.jpg

Graves at Old Jewish Cemetery, Lublin.
Established 1541 (probable)
Location LublinPoland
Country Poland
Coordinates 51°15′08″N 22°34′45″ECoordinates51°15′08″N 22°34′45″E
Type Jewish cemetery
Size ha

The Old Jewish Cemetery (PolishStary Cmentarz Żydowski w Lublinie), in Lublin, Poland, is located on a hill between Kalinowszczyzna and Sienna Streets. The cemetery overlooks the Old Town and is entirely surrounded by a high, seventeenth-century wall. It is located on the site of a former medieval fortress, and was once surrounded by numerous backwaters.

The cemetery was probably founded in 1541, although some sources give a much earlier date. The first written mention of the cemetery dates from 1555, when a privilege was issued to Polish Jews permitting burial in the area.

Many distinguished representatives of the Lublin Jewish community are buried there. Many of them have monumental and richly decorated matzevot headstones, but there are also matzevot without ornaments, which are evidence of modesty. In 1939 the cemetery probably held up to 3,000 matzevot. After the German occupation of Poland in 1939 and the start of the Holocaust, many of the matzevot were demolished or were used for street paving. The matzevot of several significant figures, however, remain.

In the 1980s, the Association for the Preservation of the Jewish Heritage in Lublin (Towarzystwo Opieki nad Pamiątkami Kultury Żydowskiej) began to put the cemetery in order and to make a detailed inventory. Between 1988 and 1991 several antisemitic acts of vandalism took place, as a result of which 40 further matzevot (Macewy) were destroyed.

Currently, the Old Jewish Cemetery in Lublin provides some of the last surviving physical evidence of the centuries-old presence of Jews in the city.

Aerial photo from 1964

Notable interments

Grodzka Gate

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Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre
Ośrodek “Brama Grodzka – Teatr NN”
Lublin, Brama Grodzka2.JPG
Predecessor NN Theatre
Coordinates 51°14′58″N 22°34′11″ECoordinates51°14′58″N 22°34′11″E
Fields culture heritage, education
Tomasz Pietrasiewicz
Vice director
Witold Dąbrowski

The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre (PolishOśrodek “Brama Grodzka — Teatr NN”) is a cultural institution based in Lublin. It is housed in the Grodzka Gate also known as the Jewish Gate that historically used to be a passage from the Christian to the Jewish part of the city. In its activities the Center focuses on issues of cultural heritage. Polish-Jewish past of Lublin is the corner stone of art and educational programmes carried out by the “Gate”.[1]

History and Theater activities of the Center

NN Theater was established in 1990 in Lublin Drama Group, accommodated at that time in the Grodzka Gate and adjoining buildings.[2] In 1998 the theater became a detached, independent organization and received its current name Ośrodek “Brama Grodzka — Teatr NN”.[1]

In its infancy theater staged the plays based on works of KafkaHrabal and other authors. As Tomasz Pietrasiewicz explains, literary adaptation of Herman Melville novel “Moby-Dick” played on the stage in June 1995 became a farewell to the certain period of producer’s theater life. When after a long break he returned to stage direction again, the spotlight shifted to the storytelling.[3]

The Center also organizes festivals, such as “Miasto Poezji” (English: “City of Poetry”) and “Śladami Singera” (English: “Following I. B. Singer’s Traces”).

Expositions in the “Grodzka Gate”

Building of the Center has hosted many expositions, though its structure, characterized by a range of narrow corridors, some dead-end ones, is far from being an idyllic place for a “typical” exhibition. Thus, their creators had to “fit” their exhibit items in the space available.

In 2010 with financial endorsement of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland an exposition “Lublin. Pamięć Miejsca” (English: “Lublin. Memory of the Place”) was launched and has been operating ever since. It included some objects from the previous display “Portrait of the Place” and was enriched by some multimedia materials. One of the halls opens to visitors’ eyes a “Wall of voices” – boxes with installed speaker system. Pressing on one of the buttons you can listen to the stories about old Lublin – its smells, tastes, and sounds.

Numerous pieces of Kaiserpanorama, accompanying visitors through the whole course of exhibition, offer to have a look at pictures of interwar Lublin. In addition, there is a room dedicated to the Holocaust victims with seventy coloured photos of Lublin ghetto, taken by a German soldier Max Kirnberger.[4] In 2012 new photos were added to the gallery. They had been found on the roof of the building on Rynek 4 during its renovation. There, under the leads, wrapped in papers and rags 2,700 photocopies were discovered. The owners of the house handed them over to the “Grodzka Gate” for a period of ten years. Author of the photos is still unknown.[5]

A separate room is devoted to the Righteous Among the Nations from Lublin region (people who had been rescuing Jews during the Holocaust). It is a place, where visitors can read their personal stories and listen to their reminiscences. Another eye-catching item of the exposition are models of the old part of the city in 1930s – one actual and one multimedia one with replicas of 840 buildings, such as town houses, shops, synagogues etc.[6]

Historical and educational activities of “The Grodzka Gate – NN Theater”

Jews who come here ask us: why do you do this? After all, you are not Jews, but Poles, and Jewish town is not your history.

Poles ask us: why do you do this? After all, you are Poles, and Jewish town is not our history. Maybe you are Jewish?

We patiently explain that it is our common, Polish-Jewish history. In order to remember the killed Jews, you don’t have to be a Jew as well.

There must be more such gates in the world we live. Not only Polish-Jewish ones.[7]


Former Synagogue Complex of The Maharshal – Shlomo Luria

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Chevra Nosim Synagogue

Thanks to Pawel and Luba Matraszek for their hospitality.

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Ghetto Memorial


Other views of Lublin

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The Train to Warsaw

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Lviv Ukraine 2


Beis Aharon V’Yisrael Synagogue

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Beis Aharon V’Yisrael Synagogue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tsori Gilod Synagogue
Basic information
Location UkraineLvivUkraine
Affiliation Orthodox Judaism
Status Active
Architectural description
Architect(s) Albert Kornbluth
Architectural style Baroque style
Completed 1925

The Beis Aharon V’Yisrael Synagogue, also known as Tsori Gilead Synagogue, is the only functioning Jewish Orthodox synagogue in LvivUkraine.


The Tsori Gilod Synagogue in Lviv

The Tsori Gilod Synagogue is one of only two Jewish temples in Lviv to have survived World War II. There were nearly fifty before the Nazi occupation.

Originally built in 1925, the synagogue was designed by Albert Kornbluth in the Baroque style. The construction was financed by Jewish charity “Tsori Gilod”, and was designed to accommodate 384 worshipers.

The building managed to survive the war as the Nazis used it as a horse stable. After 1945, under the Soviet regime, the synagogue was used as a warehouse. In 1989, the building was returned to the Jewish community. It was renovated from 1995 to 1997, and again from 1999 to 2000. In 2004-5, under the initiative of HGSS Friends of Lviv (a charity associated with Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue in London), and with substantial funding from the Rohr family of New York and Miami, it underwent a major interior renovation under the direction of architect Aron Ostreicher. At the same time the magnificent artwork on the walls and ceilings was restored.

Today, Tsori Gilod synagogue is the only functioning synagogue in Lviv. Services are conducted by the Chief Rabbi of Lviv and West Ukraine, Rabbi Mordechai Shlomo Bald, a Karlin-Stolin hasid from Borough Park, Brooklyn, so the religious community became known as “Beis Aharon V’Israel”, as many institutions of Karlin.

Lviv Tourist Information Centre  click to download pdf 

Self Guided Jewish Tour

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More icons of past Jewish life in Lviv

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Monument to the Lviv Ghetto

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Memorial plaque at Klepariv Train Station

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Other views of Lviv

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On the coach to Lublin, Poland

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Lviv Ukraine 1


Arriving by overnight train from Kyiv

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
City of regional significance
Flag of Lviv
Coat of arms of Lviv
Coat of arms
Official logo of Lviv
Motto: Semper fidelis
Coordinates: 49°51′N 24°01′ECoordinates49°51′N 24°01′E
Country  Ukraine
Oblast Lviv Oblast
Municipality Lviv
Founded 1240–1247
Magdeburg law 1356

Lviv (UkrainianЛьвівĽvivIPA: [lʲwiu̯]PolishLwówIPA: [lvuf];[1]RussianЛьвовLvovIPA: [lʲvof]LatinLeopolis, “the city of the lion”), the largest city in western Ukraine and the seventh largest city in the country overall, is one of the main cultural centres of Ukraine. Named in honor of the Leo – eldest son of Rus’ King Daniel of Galicia. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia (also called Kingdom of Rus`)[2] from 1272 to 1349 when was conquered by King Casimir III the Great who then became known as the King of Poland and Rus`. From 1434 becoming the regional capital of the Ruthenian Voivodeship in the Kingdom of Poland, then renamed Lembergin 1772 as the capital of the Habsburg Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. In 1918 in a short time was the capital of the West Ukrainian People’s Republic. Between the wars, the city was known as Lwówand was the centre of the Lwów Voivodeship in the Second Polish Republic. After the Second World War, it became part of the Soviet Union (Ukrainian SSR) and in 1991 of independent Ukraine. Administratively, Lviv serves as the administrative center of Lviv Oblast and has the status of city of oblast significance. Its population is 729,429 (2015 est.)[3].

Lviv was the centre of the historical region of Galicia. The historical heart of the city, with its old buildings and cobblestone streets, survived Soviet and German occupations during the Second World War largely unscathed. The city has many industries and institutions of higher education such as Lviv University and Lviv Polytechnic. Lviv is also a home to many world-class cultural institutions, including a philharmonic orchestra and the famous Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. The historic city centre is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lviv celebrated its 750th anniversary with a son et lumière in the city centre in September 2006.


The first known Jewish settlers in Lviv date back to 1256 and became an important part of this city cultural life, making significant contributions in trade, science and culture.[84] Apart from the Rabbinate Jews there were many Karaites who had settled in the city after coming from the East and from Byzantium. After Casimir III conquered Lviv in 1349 the Jewish citizens received many privileges equal to that of other citizens of Poland. Lviv had two separate Jewish quarters, one within the city walls and one outside on the outskirts of the city. Each had its separate synagogue, although they shared a cemetery, which was also used by the Crimean Karaite community. Before 1939 there were 97 synagogues.

Before the Holocaust about one third of the city’s population was made up of Jews (more than 140,000 on the eve of World War II). This number swelled to about 240,000 by the end of 1940 as tens of thousands of Jews fled from the Nazi-occupied parts of Poland into the relative (and temporary) sanctuary of Soviet-occupied Poland (including Lviv) following the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact that divided Poland into Nazi and Soviet zones in 1939. Almost all these Jews were killed in the Holocaust. After the war, a new Jewish population was formed from among the hundreds of thousands of Russians and Ukrainians that migrated to the city, then called Lvov. The post-war Jewish population peaked at 30,000 in the 1970s. Currently the Jewish population has shrunk considerably as a result of emigration (mainly to Israel and the United States) and, to a lesser degree, assimilation, and is estimated at 1,100. A number of organizations continue to be active.

The Sholem Aleichem Jewish Culture Society in Lviv initiated the construction of a monument to the victims of the ghetto in 1988. On 23 August 1992, the memorial complex to the victims of the Lwów ghetto (1941–1943) was officially opened.[85] During 2011–2012, some anti-Semitic acts against the memorial took place. On 20 March 2011, it was reported that the slogan “death to the Jews” with a Swastika was sprayed on the monument.[86] On 21 March 2012, the memorial was vandalized by unknown individuals, in what seemed to be an anti-Semitic act.[87]


Lviv historically had a large and active Jewish community and until 1941 at least 45 synagogues and prayer houses existed. Even in the 16th century, two separate communities existed. One lived in today’s old town with the other in the Krakowskie Przedmieście. The Golden Rose Synagogue was built in Lviv in 1582. In the 19th century, a more differentiated community started to spread out. Liberal Jews sought more cultural assimilation and spoke German and Polish. On the other hand, Orthodox and Hasidic Jews tried to retain the old traditions. Between 1941 and 1944, the Germans in effect completely destroyed the centuries-old Jewish tradition of Lviv. Most synagogues were destroyed and the Jewish population forced first into a ghetto before being forcibly transported to concentration camps where they were murdered.[90]

Under the Soviet Union, synagogues remained closed and were used as warehouses or cinemas. Only since the fall of the Iron Curtain, has the remainder of the Jewish community experienced a faint revival.

Currently, the only functioning Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Lviv is the Beis Aharon V’Yisrael Synagogue.

Lviv Tourist Information Centre  click to download pdf

Self Guided Jewish Tour

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The Coffee Factory

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The Space of Synagogues

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Space of Synagogues download pdf


Signs of previous Jewish life

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The Jacob Glanzer Shul

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Jakob Glanzer Shul

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jakob Glanzer Shul
Синагога на Угольной Львов.jpg
Basic information
Location LvivUkraine
Status Active
Architectural description
Architectural style Baroque style
Completed 1844

The Jakob Glanzer Shul, or the former Chasidim Synagogue, was a synagogue at the Ugol’naya street Nr.3 in LvivUkraine.


The synagogue was built from 1841 to 1844 in a Baroque style. Its construction was financed by Lvov merchant Jacob Glazner, and in his honor named the “Jacob Glazner Shul”. In 1844 Jacob Glanzer’s synagogue was the second-largest synagogue, after the Big city synagogue. The synagogue has been constructed in a complex with two stores. There was a prayer hall and two tiers of galleries for women were attached. And two tiers of balconies over the west side of the Shul which was destroyed by the Soviets in the years 1959/60 (Noted by Rabbi B.Vernik) It was also the location (only*) of a mikveh. Noted rabbi David Kahane, author of a memoir about the Holocaust, worked in the synagogue. During the Soviet period, ( after 1960 ) it was used as a gym.

On the end of year 1958 a few months before we left Lvov my parents donated our own bath tub from our home on the Kalinina Street -(today Zamarstunivska Street) *helping to build a mikveh, at this time there wasn’t a mikveh on the premises, – ( The mikveh was on Pidval’na Street ) right afterwards the Soviets closedown the Shul! ( Noted by Rabbi B. Vernik ).

After the Second World War in this Synagogue served as a Rabbi Yaakov Gur-Aryeh which was the main spiritual leader of the Jewish community in Lvov. After the death of Rabbi Yaakov Gur-Aryeh Soviets closed the synagogue took literally everything and removed all the Sifrei Torah. that was considered to be in the hundreds and were in the synagogue, not only in the Aron Kodesh but also in the cabinets below each window of the synagogue were these all Sifrei Torah were accommodate. ( Torah Scrolls ) from all destroyed synagogues of the city and they have moved them directly to Moscow and the premises handed over to an Institute. The main prayer hall was converted to a Sports Hall, the western two tiers of galleries for women were dismantled, the beautiful murals on the walls and ceiling were over painted, the Aron Kodesh ( Torah Ark ) dismantled. Wall cabinets and all the nice furniture of the synagogue was dismantled. (( Amended by Rabbi B. Vernik who lived, grew up and studied in 58, then in 19 schools in Lviv after the war, until the day of the opening of the TV station on the High Castle Mount in the end of year 1958. )) The Synagogue was the main concourse despite of all this horror of Stalin’s and after Stalin’s dark days – a lot of people disappeared send to Siberia and have been killed.

The Prayers in this Shul were very, very warm with a lot of hope for much better times ! On the High Jewish holidays in the synagogue were thousands of people, but on Yom Kippur, it was just impossible to move, not only in the synagogue, as well as in the hallway and even a lot more of this, the Street of the Shul on afternoon so many people arrived and congregate, mainly students, who stood and talked quietly among themselves and waited for the Blow of the Shoifor, listening to the sound of the Shoifor which symbolized the end of Yom Kippur. In the great Hall of the synagogue could be heard “the thundering ” wonderful voice of the 85 years old a famous **Cantor Boruch Leib Shulman. In the small Hall across the corridor were praying the Talmidej Chahomim and many Chasidim of different backgrounds and mostly were without a beard. On Saturdays there were three praying groups (Minian), one early morning at five o’clock in the morning, because they have to go to work early, a second group at seven o’clock in the morning, and the third group the talmidej chachomim and a lot of the Hasidim on nine o’clock Minian. On the weekdays there were every day Minianim. On the Shul back yard were working two Shochatim for chicken. On the Succoth holiday there were a Suka – this all was happened in a horrible Stalin’s and after Stalin’s days between the years of 1946 -1958 – ( this is my testimony and a witness from my very young age. )

  • Chazan Boruch Leib Shulman was a Professional Cantor (1870-1963 in 1946, lived in Lviv,and was the Cantor of this synagogue until its closure in 1961 Boruh Leib Shulman (1870, Township of Kalinkovichi, Minsk guberniya, 1963), Cantor, singer (tenor).

By Rabbi B. Vernik.

Since 1989 it has been used as a center of Jewish culture, the “Sholom Aleichem Jewish Culture Society”. External walls of a building were repaired in 1990. (The window immured on the left side is the external indicator of the location of the Holy Ark.)

External links


The Yanivske Cemetery

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Other views of Lviv

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Updates – Muizenberg and Others

Four items today

  • Jack Aaron’s speech
  • Rabbi Mirvis on Teresa May
  • Teresa May’s speech at the Finchley Untied Synagogue 2015
  • A visit by the Stropkover Rebbe

Jack Aaron’s opening speech at the Vancouver opening of Memories of Muizenberg Exhibition


Subject: Chief Rabbi Mirvis on Theresa May

Date: 17 July 2016 at 11:01:00 PM GMT+3

13 July at 18:33 ·

As David Cameron’s tenure as Prime Minister ends, I wish to take this opportunity to thank him for his deep friendship and for his unwavering commitment to promoting the values of decency, respect, liberty and responsibility, which we all hold so dear.

I have been privileged, in particular, to have worked alongside Mr Cameron to ensure that Britain remembers the Holocaust and educates generations to come about the lessons we must learn from it. He is a man who not only speaks with great principle and conviction but who acts upon what he believes. I know that the strong relationship he enjoys with the Jewish community will endure for many years to come.

Today, Theresa May becomes Prime Minister at a time of great political, social and economic uncertainty. Few people are more talented or better qualified to tackle these immense challenges. I recall the speed and the sensitivity with which she reached out to the Jewish community following the terror attacks on Jewish targets in Europe last year. As she made clear then – “Without its Jews, Britain would not be Britain”. She has proved herself to be a friend and champion of our community and of other faith communities who share her values of tolerance and understanding.

Last night, on the eve of her becoming Prime Minister, Theresa May kept a longstanding arrangement to join Valerie and me at our home for dinner. The fact that she did this in the midst of critically important preparations before taking up office is a reflection of her strong desire to keep to her commitments and the esteem in which she holds the British Jewish community. I was delighted to have the opportunity to give her my blessings at this very auspicious time.

I wish her every success as Prime Minister and look forward to building upon our warm relationship over the coming years


Speech by Teresa May at Finchley United Synagogue last year when she was Home Secretary.



Kiev: From Maidan To Lavra


The walk through the park to the Military Museum, Lavra, and and back to Arsenal


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The Military Museum

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Inside The Museum

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Museum of The History of Ukraine in World War II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates50.426634°N 30.5636°E

Museum of the history of Ukraine in World War II
Комплекс Українського державного музею Великої Вітчизняної війни 12.jpg
Established May 9th, 1981
Location Ivan Mazepa Str. 44, KievUkraine
Director Oleksandr Serhiyovych Artyomov

The National Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II (UkrainianМузей історії України у Другій світовій війніRussianМузей истории Украины во Второй мировой войне) is a memorial complex commemorating the German-Soviet War located in the southern outskirts of the Pechersk district of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on the picturesque hills on the right-bank of the Dnieper River.[1]

The museum was moved twice before ending up in the current location where it was ceremonially opened on May 9 (the Victory Day), 1981, by the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. On June 21, 1996, the museum was accorded its current status of the National Museum by the special decree signed by Leonid Kuchma, then the President of Ukraine.

It is one of the largest museums in Ukraine (over 300 thousand exhibits) centered on the now famous 62-meter tall Motherland statue, which has become one of the best recognized landmarks of Kiev. The museum has been attended by over 21 million visitors.

Memorial complex

The memorial complex covers the area of 10 hectares (approximately 24.7 acres) on the hill, overlooking the Dnieper River. It contains the giant bowl “The Flame of Glory”, a site with World War II military equipment, and the “Alley of the Hero Cities“. One of the museums also displays the armaments used by the Soviet army post World War II. The sculptures in the alley depict the courageous defence of the Soviet border from the 1941 German invasion, terrors of the Nazi occupation, partisan struggle, devoted work on the home front, and the 1943 Battle of the Dnieper.

Name change

Until July 2015 the official name of the museum was Museum of the Great Patriotic War.[2] In April 2015, the parliament of Ukraine outlawed references to the term “Great Patriotic war” as well as Communist symbols, street names and monuments, in a decommunization attempt.[3] On 16 May 2015 Minister of Culture Vyacheslav Kyrylenko stated the museum will change its name.[4] Two months later the museum officially changed its name.[2]

The Motherland Monument

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Mother Motherland, Kiev

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Motherland Monument
Location KievUkraine
Coordinates 50.426521°N 30.563187°ECoordinates50.426521°N 30.563187°E
Built 9 May 1981
Architect Yevgeny VuchetichVasyl Borodai

The Motherland Monument (UkrainianБатьківщина-МатиRussianРодина-мать) is a monumental statue in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The sculpture is a part of the Museum of The History of Ukraine in World War II, Kiev.[1] The stainless steel statue stands 62 m (203 ft) tall upon the museum building with the overall structure measuring 102 m (335 ft) and weighing 560 tons. The sword in the statue’s right hand is 16 m (52 ft) long weighing 9 tons, with the left hand holding up a 13 by 8 m (43 by 26 ft) shield with the State Emblem of the Soviet Union. The Memorial hall of the Museum displays marble plaques with carved names of more than 11,600 soldiers and over 200 workers of the home-front honored during the war with the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Hero of Socialist Labor. On the hill beneath the museum, traditional flower shows are held. The sword of the statue was cut because the tip of the sword was higher than the cross of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.[2]


Shield of the monument showing the state emblem of the Soviet Union

In the 1950s a plan circulated of building on the spot of the current statue twin monuments of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, nearly 200 m (660 ft) tall each.[3] However, this did not go ahead. Instead, according to legend, in the 1970s a shipload of Communist Party officials and Soviet sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich looked across at the hills by the Lavra and decided the panorama needed a war memorial. Vuchetich had designed the other two most famous giant Soviet war memorials, The Motherland Calls in Volgograd and the Soviet soldier carrying German infant constructed after the war in East Berlin. However, Vuchetich died in 1974, and the design of the memorial was afterwards substantially reworked and completed under the guidance of Vasyl Borodai.

Final plans for the statue were made in 1978, with construction beginning in 1979. It was controversial, many criticised the costs involved and claimed the funds could have been better spent elsewhere. When director of construction Ivan Petrovich was asked to confirm the costs of 9 million roubles, he responded that this was a conservative estimate. The statue was opened in 1981 in a ceremony attended by Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev.

In modern-day Kiev, the statue remains controversial, with some claiming it should be pulled down and its metal used for more functional purposes. Financial shortages mean that the flame, which uses up to 400 m3 (14,000 cu ft) of gas per hour, can only burn on the biggest national holidays, and rumours persist that the statue is built on unstable foundations, something strongly denied by the Kiev local government.[4][5]

In April 2015, the parliament of Ukraine outlawed Soviet and Communist symbols, street names and monuments, in a decommunization attempt.[6]But World War II monuments are excluded from these laws.[7]

In popular culture

A scene in the 2006 novel World War Z depicts a Ukrainian tank commander and his surviving men fleeing in their vehicles from an abandoned and burning Kiev under the watchful gaze of the Rodina-Mat.

The monument is prominently featured in the music video for the song “Get Out” by the band Frightened Rabbit.[8]


Audio from the service


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Kiev Pechersk Lavra

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Києво-Печерська лавра)
National Historic-Cultural Sanctuary / Monastery
2005-08-15 Pechersk Lavra seen from river Dnepr Kiev 311.JPG
Riverside view of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra
Landmarks Great Lavra Belltower,Gate Church of the Trinity (Pechersk Lavra),Church of the Saviour at Berestove,Near Caves

Kyiv Pechersk Lavra[3][4] (UkrainianКиєво-Печерська лавра, Kyievo-Pechers’ka lavraRussianКиeво-Печерская лавра, Kievo-Pecherskaya lavra), also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery which gave its name to one of the city districts where it is located in Kiev.

Since its foundation as the cave monastery in 1051[5] the Lavra has been a preeminent center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. Together with the Saint Sophia Cathedral, it is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[6][nb 1] The monastery complex is considered a separate national historic-cultural preserve (sanctuary), the national status to which was granted on 13 March 1996.[8] The Lavra is not only located in another part of the city, but is part of a different national sanctuary than Saint Sophia Cathedral. While being a cultural attraction, the monastery is currently active. It was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine on 21 August 2007, based on voting by experts and the internet community.

Currently, the jurisdiction over the site is divided between the state museum, National Kiev-Pechersk Historic-Cultural Preserve,[9] and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) as the site of the chief monastery of that Church and the residence of its leader, Metropolitan Onuphrius.



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Arsenalna (Kiev Metro)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
KyivMetroLogo.png Kiev Metro station
Arsenalna metro station Kiev 2010 01.jpg

The Station Hall
Coordinates 50°26′40″N 30°32′44″ECoordinates50°26′40″N 30°32′44″E
Owned by Kiev Metro
Line(s) Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska Line Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska Line
Platforms 1
Tracks 2
Structure type underground
Depth 105.5 m (346 ft)
Platform levels 1
Other information
Station code 121
Opened 6 November 1960
Electrified Yes
Preceding station Kiev Metro Following station
Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska Line
toward Lisova

Arsenalna (UkrainianАрсенальна) is a station on Kiev Metro‘s Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska Line. The station was opened along with the first stage and is currently the deepest station in the world (105.5 metres).[1] This is attributed to Kiev’s geography where the high bank of the Dnieper River rises above the rest of the city. Also unique is the station’s design which lacks a central concourse thus similar in layout to stations on the London Underground.

Although Arsenalna (architects H.Hranatkin, S.Krushynsky, N.Shchukina) appears as a pylon trivault, the “Pylons” along with their portals are all purely cosmetic decoration. Pink marble walls with bronze grills (that feature metallic artwork on Soviet themes) is all that is present in the portal. Instead the station has a small lobby which is directely connected to the escalator tunnel. The ride on the escalators itself is one of the longest totaling up to five minutes.

Surface vestibule (2007)

The layout of the stations has reasons, as the cosmetic pylons were planned to be real. The main one comes from the tough soils of the location and the problems with hydroisolation which forced the builders to conserve the design. Similar problems happened on the first stage in Moscow however later the stations Lubyanka and Chistye Prudy were completed. In Kiev this never was to happen. Originally built as an interim on a long track before the line crossed the Dnieper and continued into the left bank residential districts, it was never to have a large passenger traffic to justify a complex and costly reconstruction. Nor was the station ever planned to be a transfer point (unlike the Moscow stations, which ultimately was the reason for them to be rebuilt). Thus with the Kiev Arsenal Factory, for which the station was named, being the only human source of passengers, this station is likely to remain as it is permanently.

Decoratively, apart from the spoken portals, the station is monochromatic in its appearance. The plastered vault ceilings, ceramic tiled walls and the marbled “pylons” all are of white colour. A large sculptural artwork depicting revolutionary events that took place in the Arsenal factory in 1918 graced the wall of the main lobby hall until it was removed in the early 1990s.

The station’s large surface vestibule is situated on the square leading onto Ivana Mazepy, Moskovska and Mykhailo Hrushevsky streets. Behind the station is a service bay that is used for nighttime stands and minor repairs to the railcar park.

Overnight train to Lviv

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Babi Yar & Inside Brodsky


Back to the Metro

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Babi Yar


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The Menorah Memorial at Babi Yar

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Babi Yar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Babi Yar
Babi Jar ravijn.jpg

Babi Yar ravine in Kiev.
Also known as Babyn Yar
Location Outskirts of Kiev
Date Present
Incident type Genocide, mass murder
Perpetrators Friedrich JeckelnOtto RaschPaul BlobelKurt Eberhard and others
Organizations EinsatzgruppenOrdnungspolizeiSonderkommando 4a
Camp Syrets concentration camp
Victims 33,771 Jews in initial two-day massacre {29 survived}
100,000–150,000 Ukrainians, Jews, Romanis and Soviet prisoners of war on later dates
Memorials On site and elsewhere
Notes Possibly the largest two-day massacre during the HolocaustSyrets concentration camp was also located in the area. Massacres occurred at Babi Yar between 29 September 1941 to 6 November 1943 when Kiev was liberated.

Babi Yar (RussianБабий ЯрBabiy YarUkrainianБабин ЯрBabyn Yar) is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and a site of massacres carried out by German forces and local collaborators during their campaign against the Soviet Union.

The most notorious and the best documented of these massacres took place from 29–30 September 1941, wherein 33,771 Jewswere killed. The decision to kill all the Jews in Kiev was made by the military governor, Major-General Kurt Eberhard, the Police Commander for Army Group South, SS-ObergruppenführerFriedrich Jeckeln, and the Einsatzgruppe C Commander Otto Rasch. It was carried out by Sonderkommando 4a soldiers, along with the aid of the SD and SS Police Battalions backed by the local police.[1] The massacre was the largest mass killing for which the Nazi regime and its collaborators were responsible during its campaign against the Soviet Union[2] and is considered to be “the largest single massacre in the history of the Holocaust” to that particular date,[3] surpassed only by Aktion Erntefest of November 1943 in occupied Poland with 42,000–43,000 victims and the 1941 Odessa massacre of more than 50,000 Jews in October 1941, committed by Romanian troops.[4]

Victims of other massacres at the site included Soviet prisoners of war, communists and Roma.[5] It is estimated that between 100,000 and 150,000 people were killed at Babi Yar during the German occupation.[6]

A Wild Storm 
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A revisit to the Brodsky Synagogue – from the inside

Map of Brodsky Synagogue

Brodsky Synagogue 

Synagogue in Kiev, Ukraine
The Brodsky Choral Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Kiev, Ukraine. It was built in the Romanesque Revival style resembling a classical basilica. Wikipedia
 AddressShota Rustaveli St, 13, Kiev, Ukraine

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The streets of Kiev

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Podil & Walking Up The Descent!



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Podil (UkrainianПоділ) is a historic neighborhood in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Kiev, and the birthplace of the city’s trade, commerce and industry. It contains many architectural and historical landmarks, and new archaeological sites are still being revealed. It is a part of the city’s larger administrative Podilskyi District.

The Podil Synagogue

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Inside The Synagogue

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Great Choral Synagogue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Great Choral Synagogue
Синагога на Подолі вул. Щекавицька, 29 в Киеве 2.jpg
Basic information
Location Schekovytska 29, Podil
Affiliation Orthodox Judaism
Status Active
Leadership Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich
Architectural description
Architect(s) 1895 – Nikolay Gardenik
1915 – Valerian Rykov[1]
Architectural style Moorish Revival
Completed 1895

The Great Choral Synagogue of Kiev, also known as the Podil Synagogue or the Rozenberg Synagogue, is the oldest synagogue in KievUkraine. It is situated in Podil, a historic neighborhood of Kiev.


The Aesopian synagogue was built in 1895.[2] It was designed in Neo-Moorish style by Nikolay Gordenin. Gabriel Yakob Rozenberg, a merchant, financed the building.[2] In 1915 the building was reconstructed by Valerian Rykov. The reconstruction was financed by Vladimir Ginzburg, a nephew of Rozenberg.

In 1929, the synagogue was closed. During the German occupation of Kiev in World War II, the Nazis converted the building into a horse stable.[3]

Since 1945, the building has again been used as a synagogue. In 1992, Yaakov Bleich was appointed rabbi of the Jewish community of Kiev and chief rabbi of Ukraine.

Yaakov Bleich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Yaakov Dov Bleich (born 19 October 1964) is an American-born rabbi and member of the Karlin-StolinHasidicdynasty. He has been widely recognized as Chief Rabbi of Kiev and all of Ukraine since 1990[1] and has served as vice-president of the World Jewish Congress since 2009.[2]

He graduated from Telshe Yeshiva High School in ChicagoIllinois where he began his rabbinical studies. From 1984-1986, he studied at the Karlin Stolin Rabbinical Institute in Jerusalem, and received his Rabbinical ordination (semicha) at Yeshiva Karlin Stolin in Brooklyn.

In 1990, Bleich was appointed by his Karlin-Stolin community as Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine. Since his arrival in Ukraine, Bleich has been instrumental in founding the Kyiv Jewish City Community, the Union Of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine, the first Jewish day school in Ukraine, the first Jewish orphanage and boarding school in Ukraine, the Chesed Avot welfare society of Kyiv, the Magen Avot social services network of Ukraine, and a host of other organizations.

In 2005 he was one of three contenders for the role of chief rabbi, alongside Chabad Lubavitch appointees Azriel Chaikin (appointed 2002) and Moshe Reuven Azman (appointed 2005).[3] There is also a Progressive (Liberal/Reform) Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine, Alexander Dukhovny. But Rabbi Yaakov Bleich has always been recognized by the government as chief rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine.

In 2008, Kievan weekly magazine Focus named Bleich among the most “powerful foreigners” in the country.[4]


Rabbi Bleich grew up in Borough Park, Brooklyn. In 1987, he married Bashy Wigder of Monsey, New York.History of the Jews in Kiev

History of the Jews in Kiev

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The history of the Jews in Kiev stretches from the 10th century CE to the 21st century, and forms part of the history of the Jews in Ukraine.

Middle Ages and Renaissance

Bohdan Khmelnytsky Entering Kievby Mykola Ivasiuk.

The first mention of Jews in Kiev is found in the 10th century Kievian Letter, written by local Jews in ancient Hebrew. It is the oldest written document to mention the name of the city. Jewish travelers such as Benjamin of Tudela and Pethahiah of Regensburg mentioned the city as one with a large Jewish community. During the Mongol occupation the community was devastated, together with the rest of the city, but the community revived with the acquisition of the city by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. During Polish–Lithuanian rule, Jews were allowed to settle in the city, but they were subject to several deportations in 1495 and again in 1619.[1]

During the Khmelnytsky Uprising in 1648 most of the Jews in the city were murdered by Zaporozhian Cossacks, along with most of the Jews in Ukraine. After the Russian occupation in 1654, Jews were not allowed to settle in the city. This ban was lifted only in 1793 after the Third Partition of Poland.

Modern history

Percentage of ethnic Jews in Kiev’s districts according to the 1919 municipal population census

Brodsky Synagogue around 1970; then used as a puppet theatre and currently used as a synagogue[2][3]

In the 19th century the Jewish community flourished and became one of the biggest communities in Ukraine. In that period many synagogues were built including the city’s main synagogue, the Brodsky Synagogue. Jewish schools and workshops were built all around the city.

The community suffered from a number of pogroms in 1882, and again in 1905, when hundreds of Jews were murdered and wounded. The Beilis trial, in which a local Jew, Beilis, was accused of the ritual murder of a child, took place in the city in 1903. Beilis was found innocent.

During the Russian revolution and the Ukrainian War of Independence the city switched hands several times with new pogroms against the Jews. After the establishment of the Ukrainian SSR the Jewish population grew rapidly and reached approximately 224,000 people in 1939.[1]

At the beginning of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union most Jews escaped from the city. The remaining 33,771 Jews were concentrated in Babi Yar, and were executed by shooting on September 29-30th 1941, in an act that became one of the most notorious episodes of the Holocaust. Another 15.000 Jews were murdered in the same place during 1941-1942.

After the war the surviving Jews returned to the city. On September 4–7, 1945 a pogrom took place and [4] around one hundred Jews were beaten, of whom thirty-six were hospitalized and five died of wounds.[5] In 1946 there was only one operating synagogue in Kiev. The last rabbi to officiate in Kiev was Rabbi Panets, who retired in 1960 and died in 1968; a new rabbi was not appointed.[1] After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, most of the Jewish population emigrated from Kiev. After Ukrainian independence there was a revival of Jewish community life, with the establishment of two Jewish schools and a memorial in Babi Yar, where an official ceremony is held every year.[6]

Today there are approximately 20,000 Jews in Kiev, with two major religious communities: Chabad (rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman); and Karlin(rabbi Yaakov Bleich). Тwo major synagogues, the Brodsky Choral Synagogue and the Great Choral Synagogue, servе these communities.[7]


Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman called on Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and the country if possible, fearing that the city’s Jews will be victimized in the chaos during Ukrainian revolution of 2014: “I told my congregation to leave the city center or the city all together and if possible the country too… I don’t want to tempt fate… but there are constant warnings concerning intentions to attack Jewish institutions”.[8]Moreover, the CFCA (the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism) reported more than three antisemitic incidents occurred in Kiev since the 2014 Crimean crisis.[9] Both the pro-Russian Ukrainians and the Ukraine-government supporters blame each other in the exacting situation of the Jews of Kiev. Leaders of Ukraine’s own Jewish community have alleged that recent anti-Semitic provocations in the Crimea, including graffiti on a synagogue in Crimea’s capital that read “Death to the Zhids,” are the handiwork of pro-Russian Ukrainians. Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, who presides over Ukraine’s Jewish Federation, signed a letter asking Russia to end its aggression, and compared the current climate in Crimea to that of pre-Anschluss Austria.[10] The memorial Menorah in Babi Yar was desecrated twice with sprayed swastika, during Rosh Hashana and a couple of months later. [11] [12] During June 2015 there was an explosion in a Jewish-owned shop in Kiev. An extreme right-wing organization claimed responsibility for the incident.[13] Later that month, the memorial Menorah in Babi Yar was desecrated again.[14]

 Walking around Podil

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Up Andriivs’kyi Descent past St Andrew’s Church to Saint Sophia’s Cathedral

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St Michael’s Monastery to Maidan Square

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Activities along Khreschatyk Street

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Touring Kyiv


My guide

Margarita Lopatina was recommended  by the CHABAD Rabbi in Kiev

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 8.11.00 PM

Margo met me at my hotel, The Kozatskiy in Maidan Square at 10am.

We spent the next 3 hours on her walking tour.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.04.52 PM

Ukrainian Revolution

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2014 Ukrainian revolution
Part of the Euromaidan
2014-02-21 11-04 Euromaidan in Kiev.jpg

A crowd in Kiev on 21 February, 2014 after a peace agreement was signed.
Date 18–23 February 2014 (5 days)[1][2][3]
Location Mariinsky Park and Instytutska Street, Maidan NezalezhnostiKiev, Ukraine
50°27′0″N 30°31′27″E
Result Euromaidan/Opposition victory

20,000–100,000+ protesters 7,000+ government forces[11]
Deaths: 100[12]
Injured: 1,100+[14][15]
Arrested: 77[16]
Deaths: 13[17]
Injured: 272[15]
Captured: 67[18]
Deaths: 106
Injuries: 1811
Ministry of Healthcare totals (16 April @6:00 LST)[19]Dead & missing during entire conflict: 780
Medical volunteer estimates[20]

A Previous Jewish mansion

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 Buildings & Memorials

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The Market

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Golda Meir

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Sholem Aleichem



Margo on Sholem Aleichem

Sholem Aleichem

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sholem Aleichem
Born Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich
March 2 [O.S. February 18] 1859
PereyaslavRussian Empire(now Ukraine)
Died May 13, 1916 (aged 57)
New York CityUnited States
Pen name Sholem Aleichem (Yiddishשלום־עליכם‎)
Occupation Writer
Genre Novels, short stories, plays
Literary movement Yiddish revival

Sholem Aleichem statue in Netanya, Israel, sculpted by Lev Segal

Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, better known under his pen name Sholem Aleichem (Yiddish and Hebrewשלום־עליכם‎‎; Russianand UkrainianШоло́м-Але́йхем) (March 2 [O.S. February 18] 1859 – May 13, 1916), was a leading Yiddish author and playwright. The musical Fiddler on the Roof, based on his stories about Tevye the Dairyman, was the first commercially successful English-language stage production about Jewish life in Eastern Europe. The Hebrew phrase Shalom aleichem literally means “Peace be upon you”, and is a greeting in traditional Hebrew and Yiddish.


Solomon Naumovich (Sholom Nohumovich) Rabinovich (RussianСоломо́н Нау́мович (Шо́лом Но́хумович) Рабино́вич) was born in 1859 in Pereyaslav and grew up in the nearby shtetl (small town with a large Jewish population) of Voronko, in the Poltava Governorateof the Russian Empire (now in the Kiev Oblast of central Ukraine).[1] His father, Menachem-Nukhem Rabinovich, was a rich merchant at that time.[2] However, a failed business affair plunged the family into poverty and Solomon Rabinovich grew up in reduced circumstances.[2] When he was 13 years old, the family moved back to Pereyaslav, where his mother, Chaye-Esther, died in a choleraepidemic.[3]

Sholem Aleichem’s first venture into writing was an alphabetic glossary of the epithets used by his stepmother. At the age of fifteen, inspired by Robinson Crusoe, he composed a Jewish version of the novel. He adopted the pseudonym Sholem Aleichem, a Yiddishvariant of the Hebrew expression shalom aleichem, meaning “peace be with you” and typically used as a greeting. In 1876, after graduating from school in Pereyaslav, he spent three years tutoring a wealthy landowner’s daughter, Olga (Hodel) Loev (1865 – 1942).[4]From 1880 to 1883 he served as crown rabbi in Lubny.[5] On May 12, 1883, he and Olga married, against the wishes of her father. A few years later, they inherited the estate of Olga’s father. In 1890, Sholem Aleichem lost their entire fortune in a stock speculation and fled from his creditors. Solomon and Olga had their first child, a daughter named Ernestina (Tissa), in 1884.[6] Daughter Lyalya (Lili) was born in 1887. As Lyalya Kaufman, she became a Hebrew writer. (Lyalya’s daughter Bel Kaufman, also a writer, was the author of Up the Down Staircase, which was also made into a successful film.) A third daughter, Emma, was born in 1888. In 1889, Olga finally gave birth to a son. They named him Elimelech, after Olga’s father, but at home they called him Misha. Daughter Marusi (who would one day publish “My Father, Sholom Aleichem” under her married name Marie Waife-Goldberg) was born in 1892. A final child, a son named Nochum (Numa) after Solomon’s father was born in 1901 (under the name Norman Raeben he became a painter and an influential art teacher).

After witnessing the pogroms that swept through southern Russia in 1905, Sholem Aleichem left Kiev and resettled to New York City, where he arrived in 1906. His family[clarification needed] set up house in GenevaSwitzerland, but when he saw he could not afford to maintain two households, he joined them in Geneva in 1908. Despite his great popularity, he was forced to take up an exhausting schedule of lecturing to make ends meet. In July 1908, during a reading tour in Russia, Sholem Aleichem collapsed on a train going through Baranowicze. He was diagnosed with a relapse of acute hemorrhagic tuberculosis and spent two months convalescing in the town’s hospital. He later described the incident as “meeting his majesty, the Angel of Death, face to face”, and claimed it as the catalyst for writing his autobiography, Funem yarid [From the Fair].[1] He thus missed the first Conference for the Yiddish Language, held in 1908 in Czernovitz; his colleague and fellow Yiddish activist Nathan Birnbaum went in his place.[7] Sholem Aleichem spent the next four years living as a semi-invalid. During this period the family was largely supported by donations from friends and admirers.

Sholem Aleichem moved to New York City again with his family in 1914. The family lived in the Lower East Side, Manhattan. His son, Misha, ill with tuberculosis, was not permitted entry under United States immigration laws and remained in Switzerland with his sister Emma.

Sholem Aleichem died in New York in 1916.

The Brodsky Synagogue

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Brodsky Synagogue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Brodsky Synagogue
Brodsky Synagogue.jpg
Basic information
Location UkraineKievUkraine
Affiliation Orthodox Judaism
Status Active
Architectural description
Architect(s) Georgiy Shleifer
Architectural style Romanesque Revival with elements of Moorish Revival
Completed 1898

The Brodsky Choral Synagogue is the largest synagogue in KievUkraine. It was built in the Romanesque Revival style resembling a classical basilica.[1] The original tripartite facade with a large central avant-corps flanked by lower wings also echoed the characteristic design of some Moorish Revival synagogues, such as the Leopoldstädter Tempel in Vienna.


The synagogue was built between 1897 and 1898. It was designed by Georgiy Shleifer. A sugar magnate and philanthropist Lazar Brodskyfinanced its construction.[2][3]

For many decades the local and imperial authorities forbade the construction of a monumental place of Jewish worship in Kiev, as they feared that this would facilitate the growth of the Jewish community in Kiev, which, being a big trading and industrial city, would then become an important Jewish religious center. This was considered “undesirable” due to the symbolic importance of Kiev, as the cradle of Russian Orthodoxy. It was only allowed to convert existing buildings into Jewish worship houses.

In 1895, permission was given to build a synagogue in the Podil district, a poor quarter of Kiev. The location was however too far from the city center where the wealthy Jews lived such that they could not walk there on Sabbath. They wished a big choral synagogue in the city center, similar to those in St. PetersburgMoscow and Odessa.[3]

To evade the ban, Brodsky and rabbi Evsey Tsukerman sent a complaint to the Governing Senate requesting a permission to build a worship house in the private estate of Brodsky. As an attachment they included only a side view drawing of the planned building which looked like a private mansion.[3][4][5][6] The permission was obtained, and the synagogue became an example of an Aesopian synagogue.

In 1926, the synagogue was closed down by the Soviet authorities. The building was converted into an artisan club.[5][7]

The building was devastated during the World War II by Nazis and was subsequently used as a puppet theatre.[5][3] An additional facade was built in the 1970s.

In 1997 the theatre moved into a new building. The old building was renovated and since 2000 it is again used as a synagogue.[2][5][6] The restoration was mainly financed by a media proprietor Vadim Rabinovich.[6] Currently it serves a Chabad-Lubavitch congregation.

End of the tour. Down to the Metro

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Only half the day gone, now on to Podil


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

View of the modern Podil neighborhood.

Podil (UkrainianПоділ) is a historic neighborhood in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Kiev, and the birthplace of the city’s trade, commerce and industry. It contains many architectural and historical landmarks, and new archaeological sites are still being revealed. It is a part of the city’s larger administrative Podilskyi District.

Continued in the next post