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The official blog of Chabad of Crimea

Chabad of Crimea at Work

I used to think I worked hard, working half the night, till I'd finally fall asleep on the computer, often waking up there an hour or two later.  Now I have an even bigger workload!  Before I left Crimea, we organized the moving of the sifrei Torahs to an alternate location in Simferopol, away from the "action."  A temporary "aron kodesh" was hastily set up, and davening was held there for several weeks. Now, with guards in place at the shul, services are again in their regular location.  

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We have been interviewed, and written up both correctly and incorrectly.  One newspaper wrote that we took a sefer Torah with us, and another dozen followed suit --totally untrue!  The sifrei Torah, including our personal family sefer Torah are in Simferopol. We are running around trying to raise funds for the new big costs of guards and surveillance systems.  If anyone is willing to make a parlor meeting, we will travel to you!  If anyone would like to contribute to the crisis fund, they can do so on this site.  

We are organizing classes on Skype at various times.  Anyone who would like can join in.  We are learning hilchos Pesach, chassidus, and more.   


Plans are underway for Pesach, if anyone needs help, they know they can turn to us, for counseling, physical needs, or just a listening ear.  Yes, there are those who say "it's quiet now," but others are very fearful...

Nowadays, when I'm about to doze off at 3 or 4 a.m., chances are someone will be Skyping or calling me from Crimea...  and I am wide awake and back to work again.....

Please  click HERE to help us in our time of crisis.





Purim Celebrated in Simferopol

Normally, we would have had a much larger turnout... However, in spite of the turmoil around them, and Purim being the day of the Crimean referendum, over 40 members of Chabad of Crimea gathered for an Israeli themed Purim program in Simferopol where the Megillah was read and they were able to carry out the mitzvos of Purim. Mishloach monos were exchanged, matonos l'evyonim was given to more than 2 poor Jewish people on the day of Purim, and of course a delicious Purim meal was enjoyed by one and all. The Megillah was also read Motzai Shabbos, in the synagogue. We thank our very own Mordechai who stepped up to the plate to read the megillah. He deserves so much credit, as he never even heard the Megillah read before! Thanks to Ari for helping him, and a tremendous thanks to Shira Malka for organizing everything and stepping in to take over for me during my TEMPORARY absence. Chabad of Crimea has continued and intensified its programs unabated throughout the current crisis, and G-d willing, will continue to do so.

If you know of anyone who is in need of help because of the situation, please contact us at  "Contact Us" above.

If you are able to help financially, with the huge costs of multiple surveillance and security systems, guards, and food, we appreciate your either sending it securely and tax deductible online at "Donate" 

or send a check to Chabad of Crimea, 1601 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11213.  Thank you!  Leah

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Crimea On The Line

I haven't been able to write much over the past several days, as I have been traveling (except for Shabbos, of course!). 

It appears that there is some misinformation circulating, so I would like to clear it up. 

Our synagogue is right across the street from the Crimean "White House," and where much of the "action" is currently taking place, and therefore in the interest of the safety of the members of the Kehilla, we found it necessary to remove the sign from the building, and to temporarily move the Torahs and the services and other programs to another location, farther from the center of town. Even my house is only a few blocks from the cordoned off city center. 

As unidentified soldiers took over Crimean government institutions, surrounded Simferopol with tanks, closed off roads connecting us to the mainland, took control of airports, seaports, controlled the airspace over Crimea, etc. you can surely understand that the situation became quite precarious. My husband was actually flying back to Crimea from a fund raising trip in the States, in order to be together with our community in this time of need. His flights into Simferopol were cancelled several times. At this point, we consulted with higher ups in the Chabad central office, and my husband was told not to go to Crimea, and I was advised to leave. Plans kept changing as the roads were closed to civilian traffic (many thanks anyway to R' Yossie Wolf for his generous and kind offer to send a driver to pick me up) to take a plane or bus   (they had stopped running) etc.  Finally we found one train still leaving Thursday night and Yakov and Liza Gaissinovych kindly reserved the last tickets on it for me. I was left with basically 10-15 minutes to pack, so pretty obviously, the packing was haphazard, and I forgot some important items -- like my good sheitle :-(  . My driver, Sasha, took me to the train station. Many of my children stayed glued to their phones till they heard from me that I'd passed over to the mainland. As soon as my husband, stranded in Sheremyetova airport,  heard that I would be going to Donetsk, he changed his ticket and flew there.  He actually arrived before I did, and picked me up in the airport. Shabbos we enjoyed the very gracious hospitality of the Gaissinovych family.  Liza was amazing -- going to so much trouble for us just a week after giving birth!                                                                                                                                                 After Shabbos my husband farbrenged with men in Makeevka, in the Shul of R' Eliyahu and Dassie Kramer. Sunday morning B"H we were able to fly from Ukraine to the States via Moscow, and we have arrived now.                                                                        

 We are very grateful to the various individuals and organizations (government and others) who did their best to help and advise us, and have been concerned about our safety. We are constantly in touch with people who are running the davening, youth club, etc. for us in Crimea.                                                                                                                                                                      Our situation differs from that of most other nearby shluchim in that we are Americans (most shluchim are Israelis) and anti-American sentiment is running high.  Our city and Crimea are completely surrounded, and cut off from the rest of the world. Additionally, we live in ummmm not-the-greatest neighborhood, and in an old home, not a more protected modern apartment, as do most shluchim, foreigners, and Jewish functionaries.   Right now, we feel that until the situation stabilizes, we can serve our community much better from outside. Additionally, as someone in our kehillah put it: мы,члены общины сами просили раввина и ребецин уехать,они были в реальной опасности здесь,они нам нужны живые и здоровые. лена р.                                                               Translation:  We, the members of the community, ourselves asked the Rabbi and Rebbetzin to leave. They were in real danger here. We need them alive and well. Lena R.                                                  

Shabbos davening and the meals took place as usual.  Sunday and daily, men daven in another location, and a young adults club met there as well. We were instrumental in getting one person to leave immediately after Shabbos to be m'gayer in another city, and are trying to help others in various ways. We are involved in counseling. We are also in touch with our secretary, workers, and others there. We plan to teach classes via Skype.                                                                                                                                             So please do let others know that CHABAD OF CRIMEA IS ALIVE IN CRIMEA, and we ask people to please:                    

  * Say Tehillim for the Jews in Ukraine                                     * Take on a mitzvah or a hidur to help the situation                   * Donate to help us afford guards, security systems, and other needs                         

Here is the link to donateThank you for your interest! May we soon meet, with the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, b'korov mamash, in Yerushalayim!                                                                                                           Leah Lipszyc

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