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“We’re Returning:” Ukraine Rabbanim Make Dramatic Decision

Several months after the outbreak of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, a special conference took place in New York regarding the welfare of Jews in Ukraine at which a decision was made for Rabbanim and Chabad shlichim to gradually return to their communities despite the ongoing war.

The meeting was hosted by HaRav Moshe Kotlarsky, director of the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries and Vice-Chairman of Merkos L’lnyonei Chinuch, and attended by businessman and philanthropist George Rohr, a major donor for kehillos and mosdos in Ukraine for the past 32 years, and prominent Ukraine Rabbanim including the Rav of Dneiper, Rav Shmuel Kamintesky, Rav of Odesasa, Rav Avraham Wolf, Rav of Kharkiv, Rav Moshe Moskowitz, Rav of western Ukraine, Rav Shlomo Wilhem of Zhytomyr, and others.

There are currently about 155 Rabbanim and Chabad shlichim serving in about 30 different communities in Ukrainian cities. Some of the communities suffered severe damage since the war began, especially the devastated city of Mariupol. Other cities still have many Jews living there, including men of enlistment age who were banned from leaving Ukraine and the elderly and handicapped.

Some of the Rabbanim, such as Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky, stayed in Ukraine throughout the war and other Rabbanim left Ukraine and led their communities from afar. The gradual return of the Rabbanim will enable them to preserve the remaining communities and redevelop community institutions.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

7 Responses

  1. The mandate of the Rayatz to the chassidim leader left behind the Iron Curtain for “Mesiras nefesh biz mesiras nefesh b’poel mamash” – self-sacrifice till actual sacrifice of life.

    I guess this mandate continues.

    But… I wish they would get a psak from leading poskim since this is true pikuach nefesh!

    This is an issue that isn’t decided by a few askonim and a businessman, instead it should be presented to gedolei haposkim of our time!!

    I respect Chabad and you guys are heroes but…ASK DAAS TORAH!!!No one can take achrayus for such a decision without a psak!

  2. what about Hashem’s collective wishes of you returning to Israel…shame on all of you…go back to Ukraine but please do not expect on cent from me…I live in Israel and my people in Israel need all that I have….remember this…G-D GAVE US THIS LAND NOT UKRAINE___as they say we shall not weep then….

  3. Goldenpick…
    Such indolence, and such chutzpah. To call these rabbis askkonim and businessmen, and to assume that the heads of the Shlichus movement should be so brazen as to allow their own rabbis to go into pikuach nefesh without having consulted with whomever it is needs to be consulted? Good thing there are people like you around to remind them to ask their rabbi…These individuals have been through enough in their lives to know what steps need to be taken — al pi Torah, of course — in situations such as these. And what makes this obvious is the fact that they had indeed left in the first place…

    Sara Rifka-
    This type of hashkafa is far worse than even what Rabbi Akiva’s students were guilty of which caused their plague. To be so close-minded and sure of your own way of looking at things, that you should be callous towards the harsh conditions of your fellow Jews? If your love of EY is so strong that it overrides, and indeed comes at the expense of, your love for your fellow Jew, then I do believe you have completely missed the point. Love of EY, love of your fellow Jew, and love of Hashem need to come simultaneously, as a single package, not pick and choose.

    You should seriously consider if your “love” of EY is a true love al pi Torah, or if it is merely your associating yourself with an external agenda which serves to grant you a sense of purpose and belonging, in other words nothing short of a subjective experience meant to make yourself feel good about yourself and life. Break out of your ego and try expressing even a hint of concern towards your fellow Yidden!

  4. @Sara Rifka… That’s a bit of a ridiculous way to look at this to be honest. What does them going to save neshomas and the yiddishkeit of their kehillos have to do with their personal need to beH return to Eretz Yisroel one day. I’m sure Hashem has more nachas from them spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit out of Israel than He does if they went to israel to be like a banker or in IT or something. I don’t think they inherently care about the “Land of Ukraine”, but rather the JEWS of Ukraine, which are Hashem’s children. I find your obsession on the land of Israel over saving Hashem’s children borderline apikorsas. Get your hashkofas straight

  5. I agree with Sara Rifka; we should all be in Eretz Yisroel, and not return to Ukraine.

    Europe is far too blood-soaked anyhow.

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