«Jewish Observer»
JEWISH UKRAINE
14/33
July 2002
5762 Av

«WE MANAGED TO STAND OUR GROUND, NOT TO GIVE IN»
YURY SIORA
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This line from a poem by an original author, which sounded in the Kremenchug synagogue May 26, became a peculiar leitmotif of a jubilee evening party dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the city religious Jewish community and cultural educational center "Shalom".

In those already distant years, when a Jewish movement was emerging in the country rent by political contradictions, a great courage was needed to take to organizing a Jewish community in a separate town. Kremenchug appeared lucky with such people. Of significance is the fact namely the young were among the community founders: Rostislav Tsipershtein and Boris Babilua, Alexander Tikatsin and Mikhail Sheiman.

Young Jewish guys used to gather in a cellar of the building of a former cooperative "Book-binder", read the Torah, dreamt about the tomorrow, discussed founding documents of a would-be community.

A little later Boris Shepetovsky, Rafail Balin, Yakov Sinayuk, Boris Derzhavets, Regina Leshchinskaya and others joined them. When the initiative group welcomed their elder comrades - namesakes Grigorii - Sigalov and Khersonsky together with Alexander Mikhailovich Gulkin- the registration of a religious community and cultural educations society "Shalom" became feasible. Already in June 1992 a revived Kremenchug community became the third in number member of the Association of Judaic religious communities in Ukraine. Alexander Gulkin was elected its first chairman and cantor.

Creation of these organizations largely influenced the renaissance of Jewish traditions and culture in the city. If during the first weeks of their existence only minyan hardly gathered on Sabbath in the premises of an improvised synagogue of the Club of railwaymen, then in 1995-1996 over three hundred persons used to show up.

Already at that time Ilya Korokhov became the head of cultural educational society "Shalom". Speaking at the jubilee evening in a new synagogue building May 26 Ilya Yakovlevich thanked Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich, Rabbis of Kharkov and Kremenchug district Moshe Moskovich and Shlomo Solomon for their inestimable assistance in encouraging a rise of the Jewish movement in Kremenchug and expressed confidence in a bright future of the great Jewish people.

Then the gathering honored with a minute of silence those killed during WWII and veterans of the Great Patriotic war who had passed away. Among them - an almost 78 year-old member of the Council of regions of Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, Chairman of Council of Elders of the city community Alexey Victorovich Golbert - a man who promoted the development of Jewish movement in the country and was a pattern of decency and industry till the last days of his life.

Meanwhile a festive party went on. Jewish ("Yatsik gotshoin Khsene Gigat") and Ukrainian songs were sung, poems - recited and folk dances - performed. MCs of the party Lelya Aizenberg and Mark Polyak called the 10th anniversary of the community a "Pink jubilee". That's why roses were available at the festivity, the synagogue was decorated with them, veterans and amateur actors received them and verses were dedicated to them:


Roses drop their aroma,
Jubilee is shining.
Eyes gladly welcome
All dear guests.

The party ended in presenting traditional gifts to all members of the community. A farewell song 'Evenu Shalom Alekhem" crowned the event.

"This is my community!, - people proudly pronounced leaving a hospitable synagogue. - Mazl Tov!

Thanks to everybody!"

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