Chabad-Lubavitch representatives serving in the Former Soviet Union, convened this week for a four-day conference in Israel.
Among the Jewish communities represented at the conference were those of Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgria, Azerbaijan. The representatives convened at the Crown Plaza Hotel at the Dead Sea.
A series of thoughtfully prepared workshops, seminars and lectures addressed the wide range of issues that are of immediate concern to the more than 200 representatives serving in the FSU. Unique to these representatives is the challenge of rebuilding of Jewish life in a region that has had a long history of Jewish persecution. Since the fall of communism, Chabad-Lubavitch has effected a dramatic transformation, warming a Jewish population that was wary, guarded of any Jewish identification, to a vibrant Jewish life experience. The work of Chabad-Lubavitch continues unabated in this region, with the ongoing construction of JCC’s, yeshivas, synagogues, day schools, mikvehs and more.
The sessions addressed matters not unlike those of interest to their American counterparts: budgeting, Jewish education, administrative, and all matters related to rabbinical leadership.
Rabbi Yonah Metzger, Chief Rabbi of Israel greeted the convention, which was sponsored by Ohr Avner Chabad—the mainstay of Chabad in the FSU. Also addressing the convention were Russia’s Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Berel Lazar; Rabbi Azriel Chaikin, Chief Rabbi of the Ukraine; Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos, the educational arm of the Lubavitch movement, and Ohr Avner-Chabad Chairman, Mr. Lev Leviev.