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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Kiev ORT NKV#141 High School

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My first visit to Ukraine

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Map of Kiev Ukraine
Capital of Ukraine
Kiev is the capital city of Ukraine, bisected by the Dnieper River and known for its religious architecture, secular monuments and history museums. The 11th-century Kiev Pechersk Lavra is a monastery and pilgrimage site encompassing several gold-domed churches. It’s known for its catacombs lined with the burial chambers of Orthodox monks, and a collection of gold objects from ancient Scythian times.
Area839 km²
Elevation179 m
Population2.804 million (2013) UNdata
Kiev Pechersk Lavra
Kiev Pechersk Lavra
Saint Sophia's Cathedral, Kiev
Saint Sophia’s Cathedral…
Maidan Nezalezhnosti
Maidan Nezalezhnosti
St Andrew's Church, Kiev
St Andrew’s Church, K…
Museum of The History of Ukraine in World War II
Museum of The History of Ukrain…


My visit to this very impressive school
Thanks to David Benish, ORT regional director in the FSU and his assistant Mila Finkelshtein for organising my tour of the school. Thanks also to teacher Nataliia Lepatina for showing me around and introducing me some of the wonderful staff and students.

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With Nataliia Lepatina and David Benish

Nataliia shows me around

English teacher Marina Pysanets talks about Centropa

Independence Square  – Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Maidan Nezalezhnosti is the central square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. One of the city’s main squares, it is located on Khreshchatyk Street in the Shevchenko Raion. Wikipedia


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Kiev ORT Educational Complex #141 (former ORT Technology Lyceum), Kiev

Kiev ORT Technology Lyceum and the ORT Technological Center in Kiev were opened as the result of cooperation between World ORT and the city’s educational authorities, with the help of generous support from Milton and Shirley Gralla, the Rita J. & Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation and Ron Baron. In 2015 ORT Technology Lyceum moved to the premises of the secondary school #141 and was fully reconstructed thanks to the generosity of World ORT donors and the cooperation of local authorities.  From September 1st, 2015 the Lyceum got the name “Kiev ORT Educational Complex #141”.

Name of School Kiev ORT Technology Lyceum
Location Kiev/Ukraine
Type ORT institution
Age range Junior High, High School, Adult education and training
Students 887
Teachers 85

Educational Activities and Competitions

Training at the Educational Complex will be provided in four stages: pre-school, 1st degree comprehensive school, 2nddegree specialized school with advanced study of foreign languages and information technologies and technological lyceum. Alongside the general education provided in accordance with the Ukrainian National Curriculum, the school specializes in two advanced tracks of study: Jewish education, technology education and English. Curricula for these tracks make use of modern computer technology, interdisciplinary study and project-based learning. In addition, students will be able to use ICT in the study of mathematics and humanities.

Students of the Complex actively participate in the work of the Minor Academy of Sciences of Ukraine at the Kiev Centre of Creativity for children and young people. A large number of students have taken part in science conferences and have become the members of the Academy. The School has been selected to be a Pathfinder School as part of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning Innovative Schools Program.

The school participates in “Robotraffic” international competition in the modelling and controlling robocars which traditionally take place in the Robotics Leumi Center of the “Technion” Institute in Haifa (Israel). Robotics teams successfully participate and usually took the prizes at Festival-Competition of Robotics among students and teachers of ORT network schools in the CIS and Baltic States.

Jewish Education

The main goals of Jewish education at the School are strengthening the Jewish identity of the students and consolidating their ties with Israel.

Hebrew language is studied for three hours per week by students from the 1st to the 11th grade. The curriculum has traditionally followed the Heftsiba program, but in 2011-12 the new NETA program has been implemented in the 6th – 9th grade. The aim of the School’s Hebrew tuition is effective development of the students’ spoken language skills, so that they can communicate about a variety of topics.

Informal Jewish Education

This significant part of the Jewish studies curriculum consists of after school activities. Students learn how to prepare for and celebrate Jewish holidays – for example, organizing activities for their classmates and for younger students on Chanukah and Purim.  Students also participate in hadracha (leadership) training, Shabbatonim and “Masa Shorasim” – an experiential educational trip within the Ukraine on which students trace the Jewish history of the region through visiting places of both Jewish destruction and Jewish life.

Technology Education

This course runs in the 5th and 6th grades. Students learn “Modeling technology of simple structures and mechanisms” and “Technology of technological systems design” (study of the concept and principles of design, construction and performance of simple technological systems). The program of these courses was developed by the teachers of School and was approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

Professional Training Courses

From 2006 the local branch of the prestigious Cisco Networking Academy began its operations, using the Lyceum as its base. It was the first time in Ukraine that school students could study on the “Cisco IT Essentials” course. The aim of the course is to give pupils detailed knowledge in the field of hardware support and network technologies. Pupils develop skills in repair of PCs and set-up of operational systems.

A number of courses are now given on the base of Cisco Academy: Get Connected, Internet of Everything, Be Your Own Boss, Entrepreneurship, Linux Essentials, IT Essential, CCNA, CCNA Security.


In 2007 the school became a member of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet). Member institutions work in support of international understanding, peace, intercultural dialogue, sustainable development and quality education.

In 2009 Hewlett Packard and World ORT opened a GET-IT (Graduate Entrepreneurship Training through IT) Centre on the school’s premises. As a result, one of the school’s classrooms was completely equipped with laptops and a variety of other facilities with the purpose of helping students to develop the skills for opening their own businesses after graduation.

Contributions to the National Education System

  • From 2005 ORT Technology Lyceum has the status of an experimental base for the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Its achievements in the field of ICT and up-to-date technical facilities are well-known, and the school shares its experience with educators from across the city.
  • A variety of seminars and workshops for teachers and principals from other schools are held at the School throughout the year. The school hosts a number of city and district Olympiads.
  • ORT Technology lyceum was “accredited with honour” in 2011 by the state authorities.
  • A lot of students and teachers of ORT Educational Complex annually become winners of city, regional, All-Ukrainian and International competitions and Olympiads.


Innovative School chosen by Microsoft


ORT Student in Kiev

The ORT Kiev Technology Lyceum in the Ukraine has been chosen by Microsoft to join its small, international group of innovative schools.

The ORT Kiev Technology Lyceum has become the only school in Ukraine to be chosen by Microsoft to join its small, exclusive international group of innovative Pathfinder Schools.

It was one of 56 schools selected from 114 applicants in 48 countries to join the Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Schools Program, a ten-year, $500 million commitment by the company to help schools and teachers use technology to advance teaching and learning more effectively.

“The fact that this Lyceum is the only school in Ukraine chosen for this role is further recognition of ORT’s leading position in education in that country,” said Shelley B. Fagel, National President of ORT America, whose American donors are committed to implementing innovative technologies and modern educational practices at ORT schools throughout the CIS and Baltic States.  “This is yet another prime example of how our donors’ dollars are helping to foster excellence, no matter how great the challenges.”

Despite ongoing funding challenges – which have resulted in teachers being poorly paid, the end to free hot lunches and school bus service – the ORT Kiev Technology Lyceum has consistently managed to raise its educational standards, increase student enrolment and retain skilled staff despite the lure of higher pay at the city’s other private schools.

Microsoft’s acceptance letter states:  “The ORT Kiev Technology Lyceum has demonstrated strong school leadership with a proven record of innovation and successful change implementation, and a vision for learning that has already started the school on the road to reform and improvement.”

Participating in this project will provide the school with the opportunity to share experience in the use of innovative technologies in education with other schools from around the world.

ORT Kiev’s first taste of Microsoft’s Innovative Schools Program will be at the Innovative Education Forum in Cape Town, South Africa next month. There, the school will work together with five other Pathfinder schools, two mentor schools and a third party coach, which will form the team in implementing the Pathfinder program.

Over the next 12 months, ORT Kiev will be able to access leading educators in fields relating to innovation and school transformation via Microsoft’s Virtual University training sessions. Additionally, ORT Kiev’s teachers will participate in on-going professional conversations through on-line forums, wikis, and blogs as well as in face-to-face meetings.

The school will be encouraged to work with others in the program to rethink all aspects of school life – from the structure of the day and the use of technology in the curriculum to ensuring that teachers have the space and time to bring innovative practices to the classroom.

The ORT Kiev school’s selection as a Microsoft Pathfinder School brings it shoulder-to-shoulder with the ORT de Gunzburg High School in St Petersburg, which last year became the sole Russian school to achieve this distinction.  Microsoft has already given ORT de Gunzburg its SharePoint software. Worth more than $10,000, the software allows users to consolidate intranet, extranet, and Internet sites on a single platform.