«Jewish Observer»
November 2002
5763 Kislev

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In past times this event in Donetsk would have been called historical. The Chief Rabbi of Donetsk, and in his person the whole community of the region, was awarded the first-rate Golden Medal of " the 10th Anniversary of Ukrainian Independence", in the nomination for "active charity activity, promoting friendship between nations, developing culture, arts and education in Donbass". The International Academic Popularity and Quality Rating "Golden Fortune" established the award. The latter t is of exclusive importance because, over the whole history of independent Ukraine, Chief Rabbi of Donbass Pinkhas Vyshetsky was the first and the sole of all Ukrainian rabbis to be awarded such a high prize. The decision of the International "Golden Fortune" Academic Rating is indisputable, its authority, as independent observers say, is beyond any doubt.

Rabbi Vyshetsky is a man of many ideas and action, paradoxical mind and energy. He promoted the Jewish community life in Donbass to a new quality level. He united Jews and made them believe in the community's future. He initiated many noble undertakings: they are school, kindergarten, charity service, national Jewish museum, etc. Could he do all this if the community didn't support him?

The awarding ceremony was on Saturday and the Rabbi couldn't be present personally at it, on this holy day. Therefore, Dmitry Akimov, head of the rating general directorate, organized a separate ceremony on Wednesday next week in the main Academy's office. In his speech he said: "I feel that I participate in the historical event because for the first time a rabbi is awarded such a prize. There are many Jewish communities in Ukraine, but it is the Donetsk community, which is the most active. I am glad that it is the Chief Rabbi of Donbass who has become the first rabbi-holder of the "Golden Medal".

It is difficult to underestimate what Pinkhas Vyshetsky has done for Jews over 8 years of his leadership in Donetsk. In these years he was uniting Jewish organizations. He brought them all together, organized a Jewish kindergarten and secondary school, a very good boys choir and a dancing group. A high spiritual school was set up, Jewish newspapers and magazines saw the print, women's and youth clubs were opened, etc. Two regional charity funds render possible help to poor and many-children families, veterans of war and labor (not only Jews). There are 14 active Jewish communities in different towns of the region.

Now, as Pinkhas Vyshetsky informed us, he is negotiating with local authorities on receiving 405 tons of humanitarian help (mostly food products) from the USA for hospitals, teenagers boarding homes, orphanages, etc.

Several hundreds of disabled people receive food products as part of the "Meals on Wheels" program. The community has also taken patronage over 8 reformatory homes in Donetsk region, in which convicts receive spiritual and material help.

According to Pinkhas Vyshetsky, he cannot stand to see begging children. The government is not much to blame for this as its opportunities are limited. We are to undertake some measures ourselves to help the unfortunate.

That's why Rabbi called on all public organizations, irrespective of creed and occupation, to unite to put to life charitable projects.

After the newspaper "Our life"

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© 2002 Jewish Confederation of Ukraine - www.jewukr.org