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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. The thriving nature of Judaism in Odessa came to an end with the Communists' coming in to power, and the U.S.S.R.'s annexation of the Ukraine.

 However, even under the Communist regime, the emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (shlichim) never ceased their activities. In secrecy, they organized Torah classes and bris- milahs, built mikvehs, and distributed Jewish books. Some of them paid for this with their lives, others, with prison sentences.

In 1990, when the Soviet Union re-established the freedom of religion, the Rebbe'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.

With great toil and effort, Chabad Shlichim established a vast communal infrastructure and today, Jewish life in Odessa has been reborn.

Under the leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneorson, this 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. We would be delighted to include you among our friends and supporters who will join us in contributing to the huge success of the wonderful activities being conducted by Chabad Institutions in Odessa. 

CHABAD SHUL

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The Chabad synagogue (in Yiddish — “Shul”) "Shomrei Shabbat" was built over 100 years ago. It was built thanks to the donation of “Malbish arumim”(“Clother of the naked”) – a charity society that provides clothes for poor Jews (and this is why it is named so). The inhabitants of Odessa have jokingly called it “the tailor‘s synagogue”. Today it is difficult to recall all of the Jews who attended this synagogue, but a partial list of some of those who lived nearby includes: the founder and first mayor of Tel-Aviv – Meir Dizengoff;  one of the most famous Zionists – Vladimir Zhabotinsky; “the father of Zionism” Theodor Herzl predecessor – doctor Leon Pinsker; the great Jewish poets Chaim-Nachman Byalik and Yehoshua Ravnitsky; the great writer Shalom Aleykhem; and the well-known Jewish historians – Shimon Dubnov and Yoseph–Gedaliya Klausner. These and many more inhabitants of Odessa have most likely spent time between these walls. 

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The Synagogue served the Jewish community up until the year 1927 when, with the rise of Communism, it was locked up and became forbidden territory. It was turned into a mall center in which there was nothing but cells. In 1992, with great efforts on the part of the community, it was restored to its former status and today Jews from all over the city enjoy praying there.

On the Shabbath and on holidays it is very overcrowded. The synagogue was built to accommodate 200 people, but on holidays, thank G‑d, over 1000 people are obliged to take part in the prayers from the outside yard surrounding the synagogue. Our future plans for expansion include enlarging the sanctuary using the surrounding area to enable worshipers to pray comfortably inside. 

KOLLEL

 

The program, in which retired men participate in daily classes for studying Torah and Judaism, allows them to learn at their own pace. The shared learning experience provides them with fulfillment and a reason to get up in the morning. 

YESHIVAT “TOMCHEI TMIMIM – ODESSA”

The Chabad yeshiva is for young men between the ages of 18-25; at the yeshiva they study Jewish tradition at an advanced level, Talmud, Hassidism, Hebrew and computers. The students are in the yeshiva from 8:00 AM until 9:00 PM; they enjoy a hot kosher meal; receive personal attention in a warm and comfortable atmosphere and those who wish to, may remain in the dormitory.

Graduates of the yeshiva are later able to integrate into any Jewish community in some of the following positions: sofer stam (scribe), kashruth supervisor, teachers of Hebrew and Jewish tradition, manager of Jewish events and so on. 

LIBRARY

In the library it is possible to read books in Hebrew, Russian and Yiddish, and there are Jewish books for all ages. There are also classes in creative writing, singing and a story hour for children. 

JEWISH ITEMS STORE - JUDAICA

One can fulfill all of one's needs for Jewish items in this store — Matzot for Pesach and arba'at ha'minim for Sukkoth, sidurs (prayer books), kipot (skull caps), boxes for tzdaka (charity), talesim (prayer shawls), tfillin (phylacteries), mezuzot, Jewish postcards, Shabbath and Chanukkah candles, candlesticks, chanukkiyot and many other items of Judaism. 

PROJECT “STARS”

 

Project STARS (Student Torah Alliance for Russian Speakers) helps many young people from the former Soviet Union learn Torah and Judaism. Within the framework of this program hundreds of young people learn about the richness of Jewish culture, its philosophy, history and traditions – all without interrupting their routine life, their work or principal studies at schools and universities. The students of this program celebrate Kabbalat Shabbath and Kabbalat Chag; they organize picnics together as well as seminars on Judaism and Hebrew culture. 

WEEKLY NEWSPAPER

 

The weekly newspaper, Shomrei Shabbos, is published by the community and it includes columns covering both local and worldwide Jewish news, tradition, columns for the family and for children, Jewish history, interviews with entertainment and political personalities, both Jewish and non-Jewish. The paper is sent by mail to over 15,000 families all over the southern Ukraine.

Next to well-known journalists from Israel, the United States and Germany, many “fluent pens” of Odessa cooperate with this newspaper.

Enclosed is my tax-deductible gift of: 

ORGANIZATION OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS

The organization takes care of the survivors' needs, both material and spiritual, money issues and provides psychological care. 

THE BURIAL SOCIETY — CHEVRAH KADISHA

The Jewish burial society Chevrah Kadisha helps, the Jews of the city accomplish a most grievous duty.

With sincere and true kindness, these people take care of the deceased and provide a proper Jewish burial, according to the laws in the Torah. They also help the family through the days of mourning. In Odessa there are a number of cemeteries, but none are open for burial. Therefore, for this purpose, the community has purchased a new plot of land to enable burying its deceased with proper respect. 

SOCIAL SERVICE: KASHRUTH

The Jewish community enables its members (as well any other interested city – resident) to keep Kashruth. Under the supervision of the main Rabbi of Odessa and South Ukraine, Avraham Wolff, are: the Kosher (Glatt) restaurant “Rosmarine” and the Kosher store “Chala and More”, where one can purchase Kosher dairy and meat products made by “Euro–Kosher”, “Ukr–Kosher” and “Kosher–Leader”. Other products that are manufactured in Odessa also bear Kosher certification given by Rabbi Wolff.

Kosher restaurants

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Meat - Rozmarin: 5 USPENSKAYA +8(067) 518-70-30

Kosher food store 

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+8(063) 11-55-196 USPENSKAYA 26

SOCIAL SERVICE: SOUP KITCHEN "BEIT HA-TAVSHIL"

The public kitchen provides daily warm, tasty and satisfying meals for families or for singles who are unable to cook for themselves, whether this is due to physical limitations or financial constraints. Warm, packaged meals are sent out to the homes of elderly who are unable to come to the kitchen, which is located in the community center. 

SOCIAL SERVICE: FOOD PACKAGES

Every month elderly people and those who are unable to manage for themselves receive cartons filled with enough food to last them for a whole month. This kind of package takes the worry off the recipients' shoulders and leaves them free to educate their children or improve their physical situation. 

SOCIAL SERVICE: ORGANIZATION FOR HAPPY AND SPECIAL OCCASIONS

This organization organizes bris ceremonies, for babies and adults, at no cost, as well as redemption or pidyon ha-ben ceremonies for the month-old, male, firstborns as prescribed in the Torah.

It also plans and organizes Bar- or Bat-Mitzvahs for boys and girls, and organizes splendorous weddings for young couples or for older couples remarrying according to the Torah. 

MIKVAH (RITUAL BATH)

A kosher and lovely ritual bath was built for the women of Odessa and the surrounding area. The convenience, cleanliness and pleasant atmosphere encourages the women to visit on a regular basis.

For private mikvah appointment, please call 24 hours in advance.

Mrs. Chaya Wolff (speaks Hebrew, English and Russian): (011-380-50) 395-1822

Mrs. Sara sverdlova , mikvah attendant (speaks Russian): 011-380-267752772 

EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES

Certainly one of the most important goals of every Jewish family is to provide (good, in general, and Jewish in particular) an education for children. One of the institutes which helps the inhabitants of Odessa to achieve this goal is the non-governmental educational society “Habad – Or Avner” that provides traditional education for the following generation. 

The Jewish kindergartens are some of the oldest in South Ukraine. The youngest attending child is just 9 months old. There are Jewish kindergartens located in the city's largest residential areas so the young children do not have to travel long or far to get there.

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The school consists of three buildings that are located in the central part of the city and in the biggest residential areas (these accommodate the elementary school). There are also two buildings that accommodate the high school for older students.

Lessons at the school are conducted in Russian. Ukrainian is learned as the official language at a corresponding level. Two foreign languages (English and Hebrew) are also taught. The students also have a remarkable library at their disposal, computer labs with Internet connections, a gymnasium, a swimming pool.

The school’s graduates receive an official diploma. In addition to the ordinary school program required by the Ministry of Education of Ukraine, the students obtain extensive knowledge in Judaism as well. The school cooperates with colleges and universities in the United States, Israel and Ukraine.

 

The school operates full workdays, five days a week. There are excellent psychologists and speech therapists who follow the children’s development from the very beginning of their schooling helping them cope with school (and many other) problems.

The education in the school is gratis. The students enjoy hot Kosher meals three times a day. There are three buses, each with a specially developed route, which bring students to the school from different areas of the city. 

ORPHANAGE

Orphanages are built for children who come from families with social problems. There are also children from small towns and the countryside.

The children, from the age of 2 (!) to 16, live in two separate buildings. Every morning they go to the community's schools and they are integrated in regular classes; no one can distinguish between those from private homes and those from the orphanage. They learn in our kindergartens and schools and come "home" everyday to a clean dormitory and housemothers who wait for them. These women feed them, wash their clothes, help with homework and play with them. Each child has individual, unique needs and we try to satisfy these. Many of Odessa's residents and ex-residents (who today live in Germany, the USA, Canada and Israel) contribute to the orphanage. Thanks to them, each student receives cholarship funding that is transferred to a special account every month. This money that they are to receive after graduation is intended to help them to take their first steps in adult life. Thanks to donations from the orphanage’s friends, a gorgeous game room with computer games and an excellent library in the school were built. Donations from the Jewish community are used to give these children not only beautiful clothes and toys, but also exciting excursions.

 

CHEDER

 

According to century-old traditions, many little boys begin their studies in the Cheder (a traditional educational institution for the youngest pupils). Some begin their studies there at the age of only three, others join at the ages of 4, 5 and even 6 years old. According to their parents' wishes, some younger children spend one half of their day at Cheder and the other half at school. For students’ convenience they can always apply to experienced teachers that will happily answer all their questions.

All of the Cheder's Jewish scholars are experienced teachers from Israel and Ukraine. 

JEWISH UNIVERSITY

 

The youngest educational institution in the town of Odessa — The South-Ukrainian Jewish University “Chabad-Odessa” was found with assistance of Odessa Jewish Community “Chabad Shomrei Shabos”. The University educational programs were elaborated in cooperation with Ukraine State University of International Trade and Finance (Kiev) and South-Ukrainian State Pedagogical University (Odessa). The University students will be graduated as specialists in financial and humanities sciences. In addition they study Jewish educational cycle disciplines to learn more about culture and traditions of their people.

The University Board of Trustees includes directors of important Ukrainian and foreign banks. 

SUMMER AND WINTER CAMPS

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The Jewish camps organization of the children of southern Ukraine. The participants receive a Jewish education during the summer and winter vacations, in an atmosphere of one big family. 

THE CULTURAL CENTER

Sunday school for children who have not yet begun to study in one of our educational facilities.

• Informal education — these classes are offered in art, handiwork, and music on all levels.

• Clubs for women, students, retired people and business people who gather together in a pleasant atmosphere.

• Dance groups, where with background music, the dancers convey Jewish values.

• Singing groups with inspirational songs, in Hebrew and Yiddish, that touch the soul. 

JEWISH ODESSA: TOMORROW

The Odessa Jews look to the future with optimism. The Jewish Community activities enlarge day after day. Many new people come back to their routs, their lost ancestor’s heritage. They taste the sweet fruits Yiddishkeit and learn more and more about the great culture and traditions of their people.

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