Jewish Heritage Report
Vol. II, Nos. 1-2 / Spring-Summer 1998

Mixed News on Ukrainian Sites

Kiev Jews Reclaim Synagogue
One of Kievís Hasidic congregations has reclaimed the Brodsky Synagogue -- the largest in Ukraineís capital city.  In 1991, the Ukrainian President signed a decree which ensured restitution of communal religious property.  Kievís city administration and the Culture Ministry, however, were reluctant to return the Brodsky Synagogue as it has housed a popular puppet theater since 1955.  The theater wouldnít move out, though, and the Jewish community was forced to file suit against the theater and the city administration.  Despite Ukraineís High Court of Arbitrationís decision that the theater vacate the synagogue, it appeared unlikely that they would do so.
It was only after Vadim Rabinovich -- President of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress -- donated $100,000 to the puppet theater, funding their relocation, that the puppet theater vacated.  Other communities that do not have access to large amounts of funding are finding it difficult to have the same decree enforced.

Nadvornaya Cemetery Saved
In June of this year, the regional appointee of the President of Ukraine, Mikhail Vishivanyuk, signed a protocol stating clearly that a Jewish cemetery in Nadvornaya (in south-west Ukraine, near Poland) could be fenced according to its historic boundaries.  This means that the 16,000 burials in the cemetery will no longer be disturbed.  Sewage lines have already been run through the cemetery, but plans for the building of a road through the cemetery have now been tabled.

Kharkov Synagogue Burns
The synagogue in Kharkov was heavily damaged by a fire which ravaged the building on August 31, 1998.  Kharkovís chief rabbi, Moshe Moscowitz suspects arson as the cause.  The c. 1910 building, which was returned to the Jewish community in 1990 after serving as sports hall, had been undergoing renovation.  As it had no electrical wiring or gas pipes at the time of the blaze, arson is the likeliest cause.

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Updated: 1-7-99