In Ukraine Town, Bar-Mitzvah and Shabbat Prayers, 70 Years Later

For the first time since before World War II, the small Jewish community in the Ukranian town of Netishin held prayer services this past Shabbat – and celebrated the Bar-Mitzvah of the grandson of the community’s last rabbi, 70 years after it had been scheduled to take place.

The religious revival in the town is due to a construction project in the town, in which a common grave of Jewish victims of the Holocaust was discovered. Tractor breaking ground for the project opened up the grave, which included the remains of numerous individuals, and Jewish holy books and scriptural scrolls that were apparently buried together with the victims.

According to elder members of the community, the Jews of Netishin were exterminated on Rosh Hashana in 1942, as the Nazi monsters invaded the town.

Upon the discovery, members of the town’s small Jewish community turned to Habad for assistance, and the Rabbi of the nearby town of Chmelnitzki, Rabbi Alexander Feingold, intervened with city officials for help. The mayor of Netishin immediately halted construction, and provided land and assistance to rebury the remains of the Jewish victims at an alternative site. The city also paid for the construction of a memorial stone on the new gravesite.


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