Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Misha needs a prayer this Rosh Hashana

This Rosh Hashana, we pray to G-d to grant us a sweet and peaceful year.

In Ukraine, we have had one disastrous year. Revolutions, economic meltdown, and war loom over our heads.

Misha is from Lugansk and his mother is still there, besieged and unable to leave. He was just notified that he will be laid off his job, and what worries him most is that he can’t help his mom.

He will be in synagogue this Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Can he take for granted that there will be a machzor at his seat?
The Jewish community of Chernigov needs 100 new machzorim, both for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, to handle the influx of people coming to pray.

You can give Misha and dozens of Jews like him the comfort and hope of reading the traditional prayers.

Your help will purchase a set of High Holiday prayer books for the Jews of Chernigov.

9 months of chaos, war and a total economic meltdown
YES! I want to provide the holiday spirit to the battle-worn Jews of Ukraine this Rosh Hashana season, with my tax-deductible gift of:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In Turbulent Ukraine, Shluchim Unite

For the Jews of Ukraine, this past year has been one of extreme turmoil.

This challenging year has seen revolutions, war, and economic collapse. Through all the unrest and tension, Jews throughout Ukraine have reached to the shluchim for support, and the shluchim continue to provide for their needs – both practical and spiritual -  with devotion.

This past Shabbos provided a much needed chance for the shluchim of Ukraine to recharge their batteries. Thanks to the devotion of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’lnyonei Chinuch, and to the shliach Rabbi Ben Tzion Lipsker of the Meromim Foundation, close to twenty shluchim from Ukraine came together for a ‘Shabbos Achdus’, a Shabbos  which will be remembered forever. The shluchim came from all over the country, driving from as far as 20 hours to Dniepropetrovsk.

The Shabbaton was held in the beautiful Menorah Center in Dniepropetrovsk, the ‘largest Jewish center in the world’.

5 star accommodations and delicious catered meals were just the beginning of the experience. Each minute of the 4 day program was filled with action. The children loved being together with other young shluchim from Ukraine, and especially the special activities arranged just for them. It was precious to see the faces of the young shluchim, enjoying kosher ice cream as a rare treat. The shluchim and shluchos had separate farbrengens and workshops. The families especially enjoyed the trips together including a boat ride, an action-packed park with rides and rope course, and a fascinating and tasty visit to a chocolate factory.

The shluchim returned to their prospective communities rejuvenated and inspired, convinced that their achdus will help to bring brocha and peace to their country
The Shabbaton was made possible thanks to the incredible generosity of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, and to the Meromim Foundation. Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky, head shliach of Dniepropetrovsk generously gave of his time and resources to enable this to be the most comfortable experience all around.

Special thanks to Rabbi Moshe Weber of Dniepropetrovsk for attending to every detail and to Rabbi Yisroel Silberstein of Chernigov for coordinating the event.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Passing the Roadblock - a Miracle!

As Ukraine gears up for elections, tensions run high. Road blocks have become a fact of life. Thoughts of referendums, annexation, and war are on everyone’s minds. At this sensitive time, the Jews of Chernigov made the 1.5 hr trip to Nyezhin, in the Chernigov region, to the ohel, or resting place, of Rabbi Dov Ber, the second Chabad Rebbe, also known as the Mitteler Rebbe. They appreciated every second of their chance to pray for their future and the future of their country.

 “Visiting the Rebbe in Nyezhin”, explained Avner, 45, “gives me the energy to keep going until next year, next Lag B’omer, when I will again be able to make the trip to the ohel.”

Later, the community enjoyed a delicious barbeque picnic, exciting activities for the children, and outdoor fun. The talk on the bus ride home, however, was all about inspiration and resolutions for the future. Children talked eagerly about the upcoming camp. One mother made plans for Bat Mitzvah lessons for a group of girls. Some men discussed what they can do to encourage more of their friends to attend the Shabbos minyan.

Rabbi Dov Ber, the “Mitteler Rebbe”, celebrated Lag B’omer as a truly special holiday. On this day, as recorded in the Hayom Yom, many miracles occurred.

The Jews of Chernigov, the Mitteler Rebbe’s community, prayed for many miracles this Lag B’omer. Perhaps the greatest one that occurred was the shot in the arm, the boost of energy, inspiration and unity received. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Despite Political Unrest, Judaism in Chernigov is Growing Faster than Ever

The political situation in Ukraine is precarious, at best. Each day brings news of more unrest, more demonstrations, more uncertainty. We in Chernigov, thank G-d, are safe and sound. As we pray for peace and calm, we find that, against this backdrop, the Jews of Chernigov are coming together more than even before.

This past Shabbat was a local holiday weekend, and the weather was beautiful. The streets and parks were packed with people enjoying the day. The synagogue, too, was packed to capacity. Many new people are coming to synagogue, anxious for some guidance and spirituality.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Food Packages Provide Critical Aid

The local currency is dropping, and prices are rising. In a place where people struggle regularly to put a simple meal on the table, the struggle just became much more difficult. Food packages were distributed to families, providing them with much needed staples.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pesach in Chernigov a Giant Success

This Pesach, the Jewish Community of Chernigov, Ukraine learned that freedom in possible under the most challenging conditions. Chernigov’s Jews really left their comfort zone and gathered in the newly renovated Restaurant Okeanya, located in Chernigov’s central square. At a time of real fear in the streets of Ukraine, the Jewish community nevertheless came out for the largest Pesach seder ever. Two public seders were held, with over a 150 in attendance. Many attendees experienced a seder for the first time in their lives.

Sasha, a middles aged businessman until recently refused to even hear about attending Jewish events, saying that he did not consider himself Jewish.

This year, Rabbi Silberstein relates, he was shocked to receive a phone call from Sasha “Rabbi, how can I be a part of the seder this year?” he wanted to know.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Children Thrilled to Learn about Pesach

40 children gathered to learn about Pesach. The children loved to games, crafts, and learned what a seder is all about. . One child promised that she will be coming back tomorrow, and each day after that!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ukrainian Jewry needs your help immediately!


The turbulent and unstable situation in Ukraine has left the Jewish community of Chernigov afraid and vulnerable.
Local support for the JCC ongoing vast Humanitarian Aid lifesaving projects, Jewish Educational network, Heritage programs and communal events, has completely stopped. Food supplies are limited and bank accounts have been frozen across the land.
In addition, the Jewish Synagogue, Educational complex and other institutions must hired armed guards at extremely high cost, in order to grant their communities a sense of protection.
At this time of emergency, the Jewish community of Chernigov desperately need your support. 
.In the name of Chernigov’s 3000 Jews - Thank you!
May we experience the true joy of the month of Adar
Rabbi Yisroel and Aliza Silberstein