By COLlive reporter
26 Chabad rabbis, who serve as Chief Rabbis and lead the Jewish communities of Ukraine, met this week just days after violence rocked the capital of Kiev on Monday, leaving 3 people dead and more than 100 wounded.
The Rada parliament has voted on constitutional changes to increase autonomy for Ukraine’s regions, including the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk that are currently controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko stated that Russia will remain a threat to his country for decades, before adding that his country needed to increase the number of contract soldiers in its army.
At the meeting at the Menorah center in Dnepropetrovsk, Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski of Donetsk and Rabbi Shalom Gopin of Luhansk were in attendance to report about the affect of the continued fighting on their Jewish communities.
In mentioning the financial difficulties members of their communities and others around the country are experiencing, the Shluchim thanked the philanthropists Lev Leviev, George Rohr and Gennady Bogolyubov for their ongoing support, as well as the Meromim Foundation.
Hosting the meeting was Dnepropetrovsk Chief Rabbi Shmuel Kaminezki. A special guest from New York was Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.
The meeting covered a wide range of topics and challenges facing Ukraine’s Jews and the Jewish institutions as they prepare for the High Holidays and the new Jewish year.
After the meeting, participants wrote a joint ‘Pidyon Nefesh’ letter to be delivered to the Rebbe’s Ohel gravesite in New York, asking for blessings “to restore peace and tranquility to the country.”