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.