web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Photo Essay

Yishai Visits Beilis and the Baal Shem Tov in the Ukraine

The hook that finally got me to Ukraine was a conference about antisemitism. Yes, it is ironic, and maybe bold: a conference about antisemitism in Ukraine.

Ukrainian-Dolls-with-Jewish-theme

Photo Credit: Yishai Fleisher

Share Button

When the call came in to do a media junket in Kiev I could hardly believe it. Generally, I try to avoid leaving the land of Israel, except to do kiruv work, but I had been chalashing to go to the Ukraine for a few years and finally my opportunity had arrived. Two catalysts caused my yearning to visit Ukraine:  family roots in Kiev and Odessa, and a wish to see the graves of the righteous, especially the Baal Shem Tov’s tomb. I guess you could say that I was seeking my physical and spiritual forefathers in the Ukraine.

But the hook that finally got me there was a conference about antisemitism. Yes, it is ironic, and maybe bold: a conference about antisemitism in Ukraine, home of places like Babi Yar, events like the Khmelnysky Massacre, and modern-day neo-Nazism in the form of the Svoboda Party.

In fact, the whole conference was premised on canonical piece of antisemitism – the 100 year anniversary of the infamous blood libel trial of Mendel Beilis. The following are some of the images that caught my eye and which, I hope, tell the story and the spirit of the Ukraine:

Mendel Beilis was a father of five and a clerk and dispatcher in a brick factory that was run for charitable purposes owned by the Zaitsev family who were beet sugar magnates. All the factory profits went to support a hospital for the indigent of the city of all faiths. The saga began in March of 1911 when the mutilated body of 13-year-old Andrei Yushchinsky was discovered in a cave not far from the Jewish-owned brick factory on the outskirts of Kiev, where the 39-year-old Beilis worked. Beilis was arrested in July of 1911 in the middle of the night and they also took his son who was 8 years old. They put him in the secret police prison and kept him and the boy for a few days and then let the boy go but held Beilis for over two years in the horrible conditions. Beilis told a Yiddish newspaper that he considered suicide but he remembered the Torah injunction to be a hero and resist the evil inclination. If the authorities would find him dead, he thought, it would be a proof of his personal guilt, and would substantiate the accusation of the blood libel against the Jews at-large.

Mendel Beilis was a father of five and a clerk and dispatcher in a brick factory that was run for charitable purposes owned by the Zaitsev family who were beet sugar magnates. All the factory profits went to support a hospital for the indigent of the city of all faiths. The saga began in March of 1911 when the mutilated body of 13-year-old Andrei Yushchinsky was discovered in a cave not far from the Jewish-owned brick factory on the outskirts of Kiev, where the 39-year-old Beilis worked. Beilis was arrested in July of 1911 in the middle of the night and they also took his son who was 8 years old.
They put him in the secret police prison and kept him and the boy for a few days and then let the boy go but held Beilis for over two years in the horrible conditions. Beilis told a Yiddish newspaper that he considered suicide but he remembered the Torah injunction to be a hero and resist the evil inclination. If the authorities would find him dead, he thought, it would be a proof of his personal guilt, and would substantiate the accusation of the blood libel against the Jews at-large. In the end, Beilis was exonerated, but the murder was still deemed to be of a Jewish ritual nature.

 

Jay Beilis, the grandson of Mendel Beilis, was on hand at the conference. In his talk he remarked that over the years, many have told him that their grandparents were motivated to leave antisemitic environments, like Ukraine, due to the Beilis Trial and in this way he had actually saved their lives. As he finished speaking, a man came up to him and confirmed that assertion - his grandfather had told him that it was the Beilis Trial that changed the course of his life.

Jay Beilis, the grandson of Mendel Beilis, was on hand at the conference. In his talk he remarked that over the years, many have told him that their grandparents were motivated to leave antisemitic environments, like Ukraine, due to the Beilis Trial and in this way he had actually saved their lives. As he finished speaking, a man came up to him and confirmed that assertion – his grandfather had told him that it was the Beilis Trial that changed the course of his life.

Share Button

About the Author: Yishai Fleisher is the Contributing Editor and PR manager at the JewishPress.com, and Israel's only English language broadcast radio show host (Galey Yisrael 106.5FM). Yishai is an Israeli Paratrooper, a graduate of Cardozo Law School, and the founder of Kumah ("Arise" in Hebrew), an NGO dedicated to promoting Zionism and strengthening Israel's national character. Yishai is married to Malkah, they have two children, and they live on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

3 Responses to “Yishai Visits Beilis and the Baal Shem Tov in the Ukraine”

  1. Momenameen Hanani says:

    h want to work at them

  2. Momenameen Hanani says:

    h want to work at them

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
The interior of the El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in 2009.
Tunisian Jew Stabbed in Djerba
Latest News Stories
Pesach in Hebron at Maarat HaMachpela

Hebron is proving to be a popular family tourist site during the Passover Holiday.

Baruch Mizrachi Funeral 1

Hundreds attended the funeral of Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrachi, who was slain by terrorists on Passover eve.

The interior of the El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in 2009.

A local Jewish merchant was stabbed Monday on the island of Djerba.

The Israeli hi-tech company Matrix has announced it is opening a “massive training center” in Nanjing, China.

Rabbis have been busy with preparations for the traditional Birkat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing, set for Thursday.

The suspect charged in the pre-Passover shooting deaths of three people outside two Kansas Jewish centers is a known white supremacist.

More than 400 people sat down at the first seder this year at the Chabad House of Bangkok, Thailand.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

PM Binyamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian Authority incitement for the terrorist murder of a police officer on Passover eve.

The officers had signaled to the Arab driver to pull over. He then rammed into them.

The Palestinian terrorist stood by the side of the road at shot at passing cars with an AK-47.

We would like to wish all our readers a wonderful and kosher Pesach holiday.

Kerry reportedly admitted that he had “made a mistake.”

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

No, it’s not another Haredi protest against the draft, it’s burning the Chametz.

More Articles from Yishai Fleisher
(Images borrowed from the crate labels of American grown oranges)

It is easy to spot Haman in today’s world, but who is this year’s Esther?

Ambassador Dermer’s thoughts on what is ahead in the coming years between Israel and the USA.

The date for the end of one fruit crop and the beginning of the next is the 15th day of Shvat.

Well, Subaru, you stood up to tyranny in the past, and this Chanukah you shine once again.

Tears come down as I ponder the history of the self-sacrifice that this place engenders in our people.

At least 6-8 of my close friends left Israel over the course of the last seven years.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/when-yishai-visited-beilis-and-the-baal-shem-tov-in-the-ukraine-photo-essay/2013/10/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: