The Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, hosted Guma Aguiar, a well-known American Israeli businessman and philanthropist of Brazilian origin.
He was joined by his confidants Rabbi Moshe Meir Lifshitz of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Rabbi Mendy Scharfstein of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch in Brooklyn, NY.
They were accompanied by Head Shliach and Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar.
The guests visited numerous Jewish educational institutions in Dnepropetrovsk, including the largest construction project in the world — the Menorah Jewish Community Center and the Golden Rose synagogue.
They also attended an event for local Jewish students and young professionals.
Chief Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk Shmuel Kaminetsky met with the guests and shared with them the worldwide interest in the success of the Jewish revival in Dnepropetrovsk.
Rabbi Lazar emphasized his pleasure in seeing so many young people participating in Jewish communal life, frequenting the synagogue, and learning about and living their Jewish heritage. He elaborated on the need to preserve Jewish identity in every part of the world and for Jews to support each other.
Aguiar shared the story of his life with the participants, noting that despite being raised in a Jewish family, it was only at the age of 26 that he learned anything about Judaism.
It was in that year that he met a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary, who helped him return to his roots and find harmony in his world outlook. He noted that, for seven years now, he has been actively involved in many Jewish projects and emphasized the particular relevance of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.
Aguiar said he had long dreamed of visiting Dnepropetrovsk, a city that has the special blessing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
The representative of the international delegation joined a festive meal, together with members of Board of Trustees of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community.
Among them were Nathan Zolotarevskiy, Eduard Jacques, Boris Gendelman, Yigal Horn, and Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine, Rabbi Meir Stambler.
The gathering also involved Shiur Torah Foundation vice-president Dan Makogon and Rabbi Yosef Glick, the director of the Tzivos Hashem International Children’s Organization in the CIS.
All of the guests were eager to find out about the programs and projects of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community and expressed their desire to participate in the realization of these goals.