web analytics
November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



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
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry .
NYT Ignores US Condemnation of PA Incitement, Prints Info on Ferguson Cop
Latest News Stories
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry .

The NYT published sensitive info on a Ferguson cop — but ignored a US condemnation of terror.

It's business as usual as Gazans repair the tunnels used to smuggle in the long-range rockets that hit Tel Aviv.

Some of these Gazan tunnels were estimated to have cost $3 million to construct, but will they sustain continued flooding by rain and sewer water?

IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz delivers lecture.

“Ninety percent of them [Arabs] don’t know what is written in the Kuran.”

Soldiers start asking questions after Arab sniper narrowly misses killing Jewish motorist on Highway 60, south of Jerusalem.

“Lone wolves” trying to murder Jews are popping up too frequently.

The Gurlitt Museum promises all looted art will be returned to the rightful owners.

Liberal Jews are for tolerance until they also have to be tolerant.

Israeli Shayetet 13 Naval commandos discovered a wounded fellow swimmer in the water, while they were doing a training exercise on Thursday morning. The commandos helped and treated the dolphin until a marine animal doctor could arrive to help it further. By the way, the temperature in Israel was between 52-66 degree Fahrenheit on Thursday, […]

A pre-Thanksgiving speech for Americans. Obama, are you listening?

“You’ve been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army.”

Murderers have upgraded their weapons from rocks and firebombs to guns.

Thanksgiving is an American secular holiday that most Jews have no problem celebrating due to its lack of overt religious symbols (unlike the American holidays right before and after it). Still, there are always holdouts for some reason or another. Let’s hear what you do…

Maybe he thought those white hoods are prayer shawls although they are closer to being burkas.

As the expression goes, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”

Hamas snipers fired from Gaza at an IDF routine patrol operating along the security fence early afternoon on Thursday. No injuries were reported, and the vehicle was damaged. The IDF responded with an artillery shell aimed at the source of fire.

Jacob Richman found this amusing mistake in the store. Do we eat these “extra crispy” soap nuts, or wash the dishes with them?

For every terrorist cell Israel announces it has captured, there are many more kept under wraps.

More Articles from Hana Levi Julian
A look inside the IAF war room

The IDF says it will change its policies on soldiers who grow beards for religious reasons.

F-16 fighter jet.

The ISIS ‘prince’ of Iraq’s Anbar province was killed in a US-led coalition air strike Wednesday.

Israeli MK Yuli Edelstein tells Chabad rabbis why he “lost it” over tefillin in a Soviet labor camp.

In Lebanon, a pro-Hezbollah vocalist has been arrested for nationalist and sectarian incitement.

Thousands attended a Jerusalem memorial service to mark the end of seven days’ mourning for five terror victims.

The European Parliament decided Tuesday to postpone till December its decision on recognizing ‘Palestine’ as a new country.

An ISIS-linked group calls for lone wolf attackers to use the Ferguson riots in America as cover for their activities.

What does the child of Brooklyn Syrian Jews have in common with Manhattan glitterati? Diamonds. Stones.

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: