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24/01/2017 15:30

Route: Stry – Bolekhov – Ivano-Frankovsk – Zhidachev

On August 19-21 expedition “On path of Jewish history” of the Lviv volunteer center at the All-Ukranian Charity Fund “Hesed Arye” took place. The purpose of expedition was to collect information on the Jewish heritage in small towns (shtetls), where before WWII many Jews lived and were obliterated by Nazis.

In Stry volunteers visited ruins of the Big Synagogue and held a discussion about history of its construction, its functions and architectural value and also about tradition of synagogue visitation.

In Bolekhov our group of volunteers visited an ancient Jewish cemetery of the 17th century where we held a master class about rules of reading and disentanglement of gravestones epitaphs. We also visited Dovbush’s Сrag; carried out a beth midrash by Shmuel Yosef (S.Y.) Agnon’s works and made a picnic.

In Ivano-Frankivsk, the former Stanislavov, our activists visited the synagogue and have participated in Saturday meeting ceremony together with Moyshe Kolesnik, the Chief Rabbi of the town. During the expedition we also hold a “ShabbatToGo” master class in manufacturing of gift Shabbat napkins which will be later presented to the wards. Active volunteers of Charity Fund “Hesed-Labe” (Ivano-Frankivsk) joined this master class.

A lecture on preservation of the Jewish cultural heritage in Galichina and discussion of the volunteers’ role in this process has taken place. Our colleagues have welcoming conducted a tour of Ivano-Frankivsk Jewish places.

In the evening viewing of the movie “Everything Is Illuminated” based on the book of the same name of Jonathan Safran Foer has taken place. The movie tells about the young American Jew who goes to Ukraine to look for a woman who during the WWII had saved his grandfather in the Ukrainian city of Trokhimbrod on Volhynia before the Germans came there. After the viewing of the movie we had an interesting discussion.

Volunteers visited city of Kalush where they met representatives of the Jewish community. During the meeting the possible cooperation was discussed. We also visited Jewish cemetery in Kalush which needs to be well arranged and cleaned.

Soon after volunteers visited city of Zhidachev with the cemetery in the suburb which ancient gravestones are dated back to the second half the 18th century. The Jewish cemetery was destroyed during World War II. At this cemetery the grave, where Tsvi Girsh Aykhenshtayn and members of his family are buried, was restored. Tsvi Girsh Aykhenshtayn, a big scientist, Jewish philosopher, was born in 1761. He was a leader of the Jewish community, scientist-talmudist, author of several religious works which remain relevant to this day.

That was the story about our first fact-finding tour. Hopefully we have ahead a lot of interesting trips…