Nowadays life of the Jewish Community in Odessa

The port city of Odessa – Capital of the southern Ukraine – was founded more than two Centuries ago. Since then, it has also served as an extensive Jewish center for the entire region. Prior to the Second World War, Odessa was home to half a million Jews and dozens of active synagogues.

In 1990, when the Soviet Union re-established the freedom of religion, Chabad’s emissaries began carrying out their activities openly. Jews began identifying themselves as such publicly and with pride in their Judaism. They also began trying to understand what it means to be a Jew.

The past decade has seen the reawakening of Judaism in Odessa from total spiritual hibernation. The Rebbe’s emissaries, headed by Rabbi Avraham Wolff, the Chief Rabbi of Odessa and southern Ukraine, have spearheaded a wave of activities dedicated to saving the lives and souls of tens of thousands of people. Today the Jewish Community Chabad Odessa has 35,000 members.

Since the founding of our community, we have managed to create a large number of social and educational institutions, which include kindergartens, schools, orphanages, a Jewish university and a nursing home. There is a great responsibility on our shoulders.

The Jewish community in the Ukraine is in need of your assistance during these dire times. As the threat of war intensifies, Mishpacha Chabad Odessa is preparing to support the hundreds of Jews who are unable to evacuate the country including orphans, students, and Holocaust survivors. Preparations are also underway to absorb Jewish refugees from the surrounding regions of Kharkiv, Kiev, and Dnieper.

$300,000 in donations are urgently needed to purchase medical gear, protective equipment, and basic necessities such as clothes and sleeping bags. Money is also needed to help stock emergency shelters with several tons of cereal, buckwheat, sugar, rice, flour and other non-perishable staples. These donations will also help defray the costs of additional security personnel arriving from Israel to help protect the Jewish community.

Your generous donation will help ensure that the Jewish community of Odessa is prepared for all eventualities and is able to provide security, shelter, and food for everyone in need during this dangerous time. $130,000 has already been spent in food alone – but much more is still needed.

About the Author
Ukrainian political scientist, author of articles and blogs in Ukraine, Russia and Israel