Establishing Jewish identity in the Ukraine

July 5, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Last weekend an office for Jewish ancestry clarification purposes was inaugurated in the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk.

cutting the ribbon:  Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky ,Rabbi David Stav, Shalom Norman

cutting the ribbon: Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky ,Rabbi David Stav, Shalom Norman

Rabbi David Stav, chairman of the Rabbinical organization of Tzohar, Rabbi Shmuel Kaminsky, Dnipropetrovsk’s rabbi, and Shalom Norman, Director of the Triguboff Institute participated in the event. The new office was opened as part of a co-operation between the Triguboff Institute established by Sydney businessman Harry Triguboff and the Tzohar organization, in order to aid the Jews of Ukraine to clarify their personal Jewish status while they are still in their country of origin.

Consequently it will prevent situations in which there is no ability to prove a Jewish origin once aliyah to Israel was made and the documents were left behind.

The new office will serve as a branch of the Shorashim organization and it will serve the tens of thousands of Jews from the East Ukrainian of Dnipropetrovsk and its environs as well as the thousands of Jewish refugees who fled the battle zones in the eastern part of the country and are now concentrated in the city and around it. This branch joins the existent two offices of the organization in Kiev in Moscow in addition to the main office, situated in Jerusalem.

The new office was opened following a strategic decision passed by the organization management concerning newcomers’ preparations with regard to Judaism clarification before their aliyah. This decision results from the fact that a substantial part of the newcomers to Israel start to clarify their Jewish origin only when they desire in marriage, years after they have made aliyah, when no access to the required documents is longer available; In some of the cases the only living witnesses who can testify as to one’s Judaism have already passed away. This creates many cases in which one cannot prove his or hers Judaism and he or she is directed to the conversion.

A special delegation from Israel also took part in the office opening. The office is to be run by Dr. Yaakov (Yasha) Geysinowitz, who also serves as the chief Mohel in Ukraine, and with assistance of lawyer Dr. Jenna Bloritski, who runs the Kiev “Shorashim” office and in coordination with the “Shorashim” office in Jerusalem. The “Shorashim” staff in Ukraine cooperates with the “Zionist Midrasaha” in Kiev chaired by Elisha Henkin, the Jewish Agency representatives in Dnipropetrovsk and around, Maxim Lurye and Nathalie Nvitovski, and in coordination with the Israeli ambassador in Ukraine, Mr. Eliav Bellotsercowski.

In a preparatory meeting at the city’s Rabbi’s office, Rabbi David Stav said that “there is no bigger aid for a Jew than helping him to prove his Jewish status and consequently his identity as a Jew. Up till today, the Shorashim organization had saved thousands of Jews in this manner – a thing which emphasizes the importance of this current move”. The city’s rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Kamintsky, accentuated the significance of the opening of the office at Dnipropetrovsk by saying “This is saving lives. It is my intent to supply you with an abundance of work”.

Shalom Norman of the Trigobuff Institute quoted Abba Kovner’s poem titled “A Jew is who”, which reads “A Jew is whoever wants to be a Jew; and who is a Jew reluctantly (…) a Jew is who is having difficulties being a Jew; and who finds being anything else difficult. A Jew is who is born to a Jewish mother; and a Jew is who knows not where his mother’s grave is (…) A Jew is who is not separated from the rest of the nations; save what differentiates him from them. A Jew is who others hate secretly; and a Jew is who hates himself openly and publicly”.


3 Responses to “Establishing Jewish identity in the Ukraine”
  1. Nerrida Blashki Pohl says:

    Hi. Will this list be available on ancestry research sites? JRI listed a Morovkhovskaya in Dneperpetrovk who may be my late grandmother’s grandfather. How will I be able to access your information? Congratulations on beginning this project.

  2. Maurice Schlesinger says:

    Please let me have details of where and how we can contact this office of Ukraine Jewish Identity.

  3. david morris says:

    Hi. I would be interested to trace the family of my grandparents David schwartz and his wife Sarah nee kaminski schwartz who left kiev approx 1906 to travel to australia via India, Israel, and africa.They landed in Perth 1908?They lost 6 children in India en route due to the plague.There were 2 chiden born enroute Paletine and Calcutta. Birth dates and marriage details can be supplied as they were naturalized australian citizens.All details would be gratefully appreciated.

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