«Jewish Observer»
January 2002
5762 Shvat

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The phenomenal Judaic firmness in the worst situations is well known. Many historical examples prove it. One of them covers the post-war period in Ukraine (since 1945).

The archives of the Council of commissioners for religious worship activities under the Ukrainian Council of Ministers keep information about the moods and activities of the religious Jews, the reports to the superior organizations. The reports are about the visits of the Israeli embassy officials, "foreign emissaries" - the so-called Western mass media reporters. M. Mizel writes: "The main commissioner's task at that time was to suppress the religious unification development and to liquidate it gradually." For example, 94 praying-houses were closed and given to the cultural enlightment institutions. The authorities waged a continuous war with minions. They called them "the religious underground" in official documents.

Numerous complaints of religious Jews to the supreme organizations are of great interest. The authorities tried by all means to prevent the mazoth baking for the Passover Holiday. Furthermore, they inspired letters from the indignant working Jews. I was pleased to read information to the higher authorities from Vinnitsa region (1952) about four functioning synagogues: in Chernovtsi, Bershadsk, Yampol and Zhmerinka. "The Zhmerinka synagogue rabbi was L.Sh. Averbukh at that time. He was born in 1880, finished kheder and eshibot, worked as an accountant, a bookbinder, and since 1949 as a rabbi. He stayed on the "occupied territory." This is all about my father. Figuratively speaking, this book is not only about "a calf buffing the oak" but also about how he defeated the atheistic dictatorship. The Jews didn't give in. It's impossible to separate a religious Jew from Judaism. Neither inquisition nor proletarian dictatorship could do this. The constantly increasing number of parishioners and donations proves this to synagogues. The figures are given in the book.

I would like to support the idea mentioned by the Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich in the introduction of this book. He wrote: "This is only the beginning of the work that we have to do together - to write the truthful history of Jews in the former Soviet Union."

Mizel M. The Jewish religious communities in Ukraine. - K.: Institute of Jewish Studies, 1998. - p. 263.

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