web analytics
October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Chabad Rabbi Remains with Trapped Jews as Ukraine Troops, Rebels, and Russians Fight for Mariupol

Chabad Rabbi Mendel Cohen is the only emissary left in the embattled region; he says he will stay as long as he can.
Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and rabbi to Mariupol, Rabbi Mendel Cohen at recent Torah dedication in the southeastern Ukraine city.

Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and rabbi to Mariupol, Rabbi Mendel Cohen at recent Torah dedication in the southeastern Ukraine city.
Photo Credit: Courtesy, Chabad.org

Jews in Mariupol, Ukraine are caught between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place’ with nowhere to run as the winds of war whirl into their community. Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and rabbi of the city, Rabbi Mendel Cohen, has remained to serve his brethren in what has become one of the greatest challenges of his life.

Pro-Russian separatists, Russian tanks and Ukraine forces are all rapidly converging on the key southeastern port city to fight for control.

The nearby town of Novoazovsk reportedly has fallen to the rebels over the past 24 hours, according to a report by the BBC which quoted Russian TV. The Ukraine government told media that Russian forces have crossed the border in support of the rebel advance — a charge denied by Moscow.

The besieged cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, further north, have been embattled for months. The self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), where the city of the same name is located, has attempted to secede from Ukraine. DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko told Russian TV there were up to 4,000 Russian citizens within the ranks of the separatist rebel army, “former high-ranking military officers who have volunteered to join us. They are fighting with us, considering that to be their duty.

“There are also many in the current Russian military that prefer to spend their leave among us, brothers who are fighting for their freedom, rather than on a beach.”

“People are very worried right now,” Rabbi Cohen told Chabad.org. “There are lines at all of the gas stations and ATMs and people are stocking up on food, so there is nothing left in the stores. We don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Mariupol, the second-largest city in Donetsk, is only 35 miles from the Russian border and Russian is the primary language. In February, pro-Russian separatists seized the city’s administrative buildings and maintained control over the city for months.

Kiev sent troops and battled for control over the city in a fierce fight that ended at the city’s police station. At least six were killed in the offensive and it took until June 13 before the Ukraine government forces managed to secure total control over the city.

Rabbi Cohen described “armed men with masks right next to the shul,” saying it was “dangerous to walk around in the street” until June. Since then, however, “thank God it has become more stable.”

The sense of unease has returned, however.

Over the past month, more than 330,000 people have been displaced by combat in Donetsk to the north, and Lugansk to the east. Some 2,000 people have been killed so far, according to some estimates.

Many refugees have ended up in Mariupol. This week the sounds of shelling are much closer. Mariupol’s Jews so far insist on staying, fearing the dangers on the road to freedom more than the uncertainties facing them in their own homes. The Chabad emissary says he will stay as long as he can to aid the community.

“We have a minyan three times a day and Torah classes. Our day camp just ended, and we are now preparing for the school year,” Cohen said. The Jewish community has also worked to supply food packages to a growing number of people who need them.

Out of four emissaries serving southeastern Ukraine, Rabbi Cohen is the only one left. Three others were forced to re-evaluate their situations, along with the Jews of Donetsk, Lugansk and Maakeevka.

‘I hope and pray they will be able to return to their work very soon,” Rabbi Cohen said.

About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Chabad Rabbi Remains with Trapped Jews as Ukraine Troops, Rebels, and Russians Fight for Mariupol”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Terrorists attack Israeli soldiers with a Molotov cocktail in Arab village near Ramallah.
Palestinian Authority-American Shot Dead while Trying to Kill Jews
Latest News Stories

On Saturday, fighting between the Lebanon Army and ISIS-affiliated terrorists in the Lebanese city of Tripoli left at least 14 dead and dozens wounded.

Liberman and Ariel

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Liberman (L) speaks with Israel’s Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel during a cornerstone laying ceremony for a new Synagogue in the community of Nokdim in Eastern Gush Etzion, on October 23, 2014. Nokdim is Liberman’s home town. This is what we think they spoke about.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency Saturday after terrorists carried out a deadly assault in the northern Sinai, killing 33 Egyptian troops. Al-Sisi charged that “this operation had a foreign fund to execute” he attack against the Egyptian army… to break the back of Egypt and Egyptians.” A car bomb […]

Israeli police shoot tear gas to disperse Arab rioters throwing rocks after Friday prayers in Arab neighborhoods n Jerusalem.

Arab youth are trying to spark a widespread intifada but so far have failed.

Jewish headstones and monuments were smashed, broken and knocked over. Firebombs were thrown into the cemetery.

The Galil Medical Center has treated 408 wounded Syrians to date.

At least 14 people have been killed in Tripoli battles.

India has chosen to purchase Israel’s Spike anti-tank missiles after rejecting a competing offer for US Lockheed Martin’s Javelin missiles.

The US sends its “condolences” and urges “all parties…to avoid escalating tensions.”

Kerry snubs Ya’alon, but the Israeli D.M. gets great press coverage in leading U.S. newspaper.

The first of 2 nurses to contract Ebola in Texas has been cured. NY and NJ have begun quarantining health-care workers returning from West Africa.

“Mourning” a terrorist means carrying the torch of terror.

Israel changes it clocks Sunday morning at 2 AM.

Terrorist attack in NYC and in Canada came after ISIS urged Muslims in the West to strike police and soldiers.

“For these international artists, the history and heroism at Masada together with performing at the lowest point on earth – 424 meters under the sea – is something that is truly unique,” Yossef explained.

More Articles from Hana Levi Julian
Ebola virus particles.

A healthcare worker has returned to the US from West Africa suffering with symptoms resulting in testing for the Ebola virus at NYC’s Bellevue Hospital.

Israeli car damaged by rock attack in September 2014. (archive)

Despite PM Netanyahu’s vow to “assert sovereignty” over all parts of Jerusalem, Arabs continue to carry out potentially lethal rock attacks.

Israel’s prime minister and the mayor of Jerusalem met today with security brass over the terror attack that wounded 8 and killed a 3-month-old baby.

For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Boeing Aerospace and Defense has made a sale to Iran.

Syria’s once-lucrative oil wells dissolve under U.S.-led coalition air strikes targeting the ISIS terror organization.

In Lebanon, a man in his 20s suspected of being ill with the Ebola virus has been placed in quarantine at a Beirut hospital.

The Legal Forum for Israel calls on Transportation Minister Katz to amend the law and revoke drivers’ licenses of convicted terrorists.

This Friday, millions of Jews in 340 cities around the world will be ‘keeping it together.’ The 7th day. Shabbat.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/chabad-rabbi-remains-with-trapped-jews-as-ukraine-troops-rebels-and-russians-fight-for-mariupol/2014/08/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: