Jewish Community of Dnepr
The third-largest Jewish community in Europe lives on the territory of Ukraine. The area that became the “promised land” within the country is Dnipropetrovsk region. Such a reverent name was accepted since those times when it was bearing the name of Yekaterinoslav Governorate.
The uniqueness of Jewish community of Dnipropetrovsk consists in its stability. Despite any challenges experienced by the diaspora its life was never interrupted – neither in Yekaterinoslave, nor in Dnipropetrovsk or even Dnipro. According to the representatives of the community, the secret of welfare of the Jewish homes in Dnipropetrovsk is standing on three pillars:
- a wise rabbi;
- strong communal organization with a worthy board;
- mutual help and support.
The history of diaspora in Ukraine was built on these grounds, and the modern Jewish life also develops on them – an active, diversified and friendly one.
The history of Jewish community
It counts not less than 200 years. It is customary to mark its creation by the year when the city of Yekaterinoslav was founded – 1776. Just 15 years later the emperor’s decree that guaranteed the Jewish community of Yekaterinoslav official status and citizenship was issued. Families with many children that are traditional in the Judaic community together with low infant mortality (compared to local non-Jewish population) gave an impetus to prosperity and increase in the number of the diaspora. In less than a hundred years the number of Jewish population has increased from 376 people to more than 40 thousand (36% of total population).
The first Jewish synagogue that has been built in 1800 was destroyed by a fire. On its place the future “Golden Rose” which was called Choral in the first days.
Throughout its existence, the Jewish diaspora was taking an active part in the development of the city:
- opened factories and plants;
- built houses and cultural buildings;
- founded educational and medical institutions and so on.
The community’s projects of improvement of the city are no less numerous today.
Cultural life of the Jewish community
The spiritual leader of Jewish diaspora within the city and outside it is the Chief Rabbi of Dnipro and Dnipropetrovsk region, Shmuel Kaminetskiy. The community’s Board of Guardians, existing for nearly 20 years already and headed by G. B. Bogolyubov, is dealing with strategic management. Through the efforts of Board of Directors, the “Golden Rose” synagogue was reconstructed and “Beit Baruch” old people’s home (a boarding house for elderly single Jews) was built.
Among other projects of the community there are:
- an educational center for children, children’s park;
- the museum of Holocaust;
- the biggest multifunctional cultural and business center in the world “Menorah”.
The Jewish complex of Dnipropetrovsk is not only the architectural heritage of the city. Within the walls of “Menorah” hotels, restaurants, offices, conference halls, an art gallery and a museum are located. Different educational project for children and teenagers are organized on the basis of the center. In “Menorah” excursions for all comers are carried out.
And, of course, the community celebrates Jewish holidays on a noble scale. Festivals, exhibitions, concerts and parades are regularly held. Reliable local Jewish mass media never get bored of covering these and many other events in the life of diaspora.