SHOCK: Reform Jews Michalel Shabbos At Kever Of Baal Shem Tov, Women Join “Minyan”


While on a pilgrimage to the town of Mezbiuz in Ukraine to visit the Kever of the Baal Shem Tov, a group of Charedim were shocked to see a group of Reform Jews, both men and women, being Michalel Shabbos.

According to a report that was published by Bchadrei Charedim, some of the Chareidim reported that a group of seemingly Reform Jews were praying together and filled the men’s sanctuary of the shul at the gravesite. A woman was leading the prayer and singing Lecha Dodi. The crowd, which was made up of families and singles, was singing together as well. When the Charedim protested the goings on, they were told that everything had been coordinated with the supervisors of the location and that this ritual happens annually.

Another Chareidi worshipper said: “The entire prayer service was filmed on cell phones on Shabbos.”

When asked for a response to the situation, Meir Gabbay, who is tasked with overseeing the religious logistics of the site said: “I wasn’t there this Shabbos, and no one received permission to desecrate Shabbos at the site. Sometimes, people come who don’t fit in with the spirit of the place. We cannot always follow up with all of the people who visit the site. It is sad that this happened. I will make sure that something like this does not happen again. We are currently working on building a proper women’s section because right now there are only simple mechitzos.”

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(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. The Besht would have loved them as Jews. And mark my words, at least some of the people who were there will become frum. Signed, a former Reform Jew.

  2. we need more ahavas yisroel and these types of issues will gradually improve and greater respect on both sides will help assist with that . In the meantime pls post more Lamar Odom pictures. A brief bio on him and Naomi Campbell would help too .

  3. Reform is NOT Judaism. Those ousvorfs should be treated like trespassing missionaries because that’s exactly what they are. Some may have been born Jewish but what they practice is not Judaism. Throw the bums out!!!

  4. drugcommish, it seems like you are back on drugs again. comparing them to missionaries is a bit rich. they are sincere and need to be treated as such. reactions like yours, reflect on your lineage.

  5. I don’t know why this should shock anyone. They’re reform jews. Now if they were religious Jews being Michalel Shabbat, THAT WOULD BE SHOCKING!

    What I find amazing is that they learn Chassidus. That is why they go there. They are trying to connect to the Ba’al Shem Tov. Granted, they are doing it the wrong way. However, who knows what future brings? Perhaps one of them will do Teshuva and become a “real chossid” of the Ba’al Shem Tov.

  6. Who tasked Mr. Gabbay with overseeing the religious logistics of the site? Who actually owns the Beis Hachayim? Who owns the Hachnossas Orchim building which houses the shul? Or are they talking about the Ohev Yisroel Apta shul close by? Who has the right to decide who can come and go there and how they have to behave? Would the Ukranian authorities countenance throwing Jews out of the shul there?

  7. Don’t be ignorant. The movement known as reform is not good. The Jews there (not all in the movement are Jews) have the same Yiddishe neshama as anyone else who stood at Har Sinai. Tis the season to be aware of Sinas Chinam

  8. Afra li’pumei. Absolutely horrible that this was allowed to happen. At least we can take comfort in the fact that Reform is on the decline and will soon die out במהירה בימינו

  9. Is the “SHOCK” at the behavior of non-frum Jews (many of whom aren’t Jews according to the Torah definition), or at the amazing idea of “Reform” Jews showing any interest in something Jewish? Non-frum Jews can be expected to act in non-frum ways (violating Shabbos, pritsos, etc.) so that shouldn’t be shocking. But it is surprising to see them expressing any interest inthe Ball Shem Tov, or Hasidus, or Yiddisheit.

  10. Oh please. Firstly, what’s the shock? They weren’t brought up w shmira Shabbos. What exactly do you expect?

    And besides…what would R Levi Yitzchok zya say?

    “Hashem, look at your teire kinder…even though they play instruments and take video on Shabbos, they have davening at the kever of one of your tzaddikim”

  11. drugcommish, see huvs note and take a chill pill. There are ways to deal with issues and then there are people like you. Then we all wonder why klal yisroel is in the state that it is.

  12. thanks YWN for this awesome piece of lashon hara! I was waiting all morning for a great aveira to present itself, and in true YWN fashion, you guys came through. Perfect way to start the 3 weeks! Thanks 🙂

  13. Druggie: The kever has always been open to all and I don’t believe the group that does maintains the site and tries to coordinate visits there has the legal authority to exclude groups whose hashkafah they don’t approve of. Having a separate womens’ section would be a good idea.

  14. “Reform Judaism” is a foreign religion that has less in common with Judaism than do most forms of Xianity. Also, the majority of that religion’s adherents are not Jewish. Thus, neither the Baal Shem Tov nor R Levi Yitzchok would see a good side to this. Yesterday we fasted, in part, because a tzelem was erected in the heichal; this is the same thing.

    Of course those Jews who are adherents of this religion have a neshomo which is literally part of G-d, and we must therefore love them and try to pry them away from their religion, just as we must do to Jews who are Xian or Buddhist, etc.

  15. As a ba’al tshuva who went to a reform summer camp growing up many many years ago, I’d like to correct a few mischaracterizations. In fact, there is a certain fascination and appreciation of the baal shem tov, especially among those who attended reform camps. Besht stories are commonplace, especially on Shabbos night, usually focusing on the love for all Jews. My guess is that these Jews went there based on a connection they had in the past to his “stories”. And not to make a false assumption, but imho, I would venture that they are not “deliberately” being mechalel shabbos or mechalel a makom kadosh (as opposed to w.o.w), but rather they really do not know about shabbos observance and are trying to connect in the only way they know. An amazing kiddush Hashem could have occurred if the gabbai or others there told them other stories about the Besht, perhaps focusing on his love of Judaism, mitzvah observance, and shabbos in a friendly, open way.

  16. Ach! Milhouse et al, how can you be so harsh? Don’t you realize it’s just a machlokes in Hashkafa such as between Chernobyl/Skver & Breslov?
    Even KatanHadorah said so!

  17. milhouse, your ignorance is mind-boggling. going into a catholic church is considered AZ but most poskim; name one who thinks a reform synagogue is AZ?? you are an am ha’aretz de’oraysah and your ahavat yisroel helps to keep the moshiach away.

  18. Rather than the usual bashing of conservative, reform, etc. as “worse than missionaries”, goyim gamur, etc., perhaps think about the Baal Shem Tov’s version of ahavas yisroel and what affirmative efforts could be taken to bring these yidden back to true yiddeshkeit. Instead, we have the usual suspects demonstrating their rhetorical skills highlighting the divisions within the tzibur

  19. Gadolhadorah, the reform aren’t part of the tzibbur and aren’t included in the mitzvah of ahavas yisroel. That’s what Harav Avigdor Miller says. You want to argue with a godol like Harav Avigdor Miller?