Rav Of Odessa: “We Have 120 Orphans, Who Will Tend To Them If I Leave?”

HaRav Wolf at a bris milah of a yasom 3 weeks ago.

In an emotional conversation, HaRav Avraham Wolf, Chabad shaliach and Chief Rabbi of Odessa, spoke with Israel’s Reshet Bet on Friday about the responsibility that he and other Chabad shalichim have for Jews in Ukraine.

“There are 120 children in the orphanages of Chabad?” he said in a voice choked with tears. “Who will take care of them if I leave? The possibility of leaving Ukraine is a privilege that hasn’t crossed the mind of any Chabad shaliach. There are 35,000 children in Odessa and we’re responsible for their lives and they turn to us for their help. In addition, we have 120 children in Chabad orphanages, a dorm of 140 Jewish students from all over Ukraine, and a nursing home with 50 Holocaust survivors.”

“Can I even think of a scenario where I won’t take care of them? We can’t allow the ship to sink.”

HaRav Wolf said that even the Jews in Ukraine who are able to help themselves can’t leave because they don’t have passports.

“The Ukrainian Interior Ministry told everyone who requested an appointment for a passport that the first available appointments are in August. We tried to use all our connections as shalichim but there was nothing we could do.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. No, Chabad has run Jewish orphanages in Ukraine many yrs. It’s a beautiful mitzva. The country doesn’t allow the children to be adopted by foreigners. The children live at these facilities in a kosher and Torah environment. They’re called orphanages but many of the kids do have some living parents. They’re provided for spiritually and physically.