web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Rabbi in Crimea Makes it Out on the Last Train

The scene of Russian troops sealing the region of Crimea conjures up scary reminders of the Nazi invasions of Europe.

Rabbi Yitzchok Meyer Lipszyc, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in Crimea for more than two decades, with a Torah scroll.

Rabbi Yitzchok Meyer Lipszyc, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in Crimea for more than two decades, with a Torah scroll.
Photo Credit: Chabad Lubavitch of Crimea

Clarification and Update:

Wording in the title of this article has been changed from “Rabbi in Crimea Escapes with Torah Scroll” to “Rabbi in Crimea Makes it Out on the Last Train”, to avoid any potential misunderstanding that Rabbi Yitzchok Meyer Lipszyc may have stolen the Torah from the Crimea war zone, or abandoned his community in its time of need.

The Torah was moved to a safer location in Simferopol, and Rabbi Lipszyc was advised by his superiors at Chabad headquarters to temporarily move his center of operations out of Crimea. The Rabbi is still working with his community via Skype, phone and email.

JewishPress.com apologizes for any misunderstanding the title may have caused if read out of context from the text of the article.

Crimea’s Chabad Rabbi Yitzchak Meyer Lipszyc escaped Simferopol with his wife on the last train that left the area before the Russian sealed it off.

“The main action in Crimea was taking place right across the street from our synagogue,” said Rabbi Lipszyc, who has been a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, for more than two decades. “There were demonstrations with over 30,000 people. The protestors were pro-Ukrainian. But eventually the ones who took over were in the unidentified uniforms—they were obviously Russian military. There was Cossacks there too; for Jews that was a bit scary because of their history in the pogroms.”

Lipszyc spoke told JNS.org, “For the last 22 years under the Ukrainian government, everything has been going very well. When this situation began, it turned things upside down. We were told by Chabad headquarters to get out and we barely made it out. My wife in fact got the last two tickets on a train out of Simferopol on the night before everything got sealed off by the Russians.

He said that despite the referendum that was almost unanimous for annexation by Russia, the thinks “most of the people wanted to stay with Ukraine, because that was what they were familiar with, but then when the Russians took over the media and propaganda switched the other way, within days we saw it swing towards being overwhelmingly pro-Russian.’

The situation is even worse for Americans like the rabbi, he added. “Americans were persona-non-gratis for both Ukrainians and Russians at this time. For Russians it is because of the stance the American government has taken against Russia. While on the Ukraine side they are deeply disappointed that America is not doing enough to help them.

“Oddly enough we had to leave there more because we were Americans and not because we were Jewish.”

Nevertheless, the atmosphere was anything but comfortable for Jews. Rabbi Lipszyc said that the Russian troops cordoned off the synagogue and that he and his wife moved to their house.

At his wife’s suggestion, they decided to move away as far as possible and wrote a note to the Lubavitcher Rebbe to ask his help to get them out.

“Believe it or not, when our friend reached the military checkpoint, he explained to them that we needed to retrieve the Torah out of the synagogue, [the Russian soldier] suddenly moved out of the way and removed the barriers to let him,” according to the rabbi. “On his way out, the solider actually even apologized to him for the inconvenience, which was unheard of there! It was a miracle. We were able to move our Torahs to a safer location in Simferopol, where services were held for several weeks.””

Despite anti-Semitism, Jews are able to practice without interference. However, he noted, “We have to prepare for Passover and need to raise a lot of money to help with the extra costs. We not only need extra security, but we have taken loses during the process.

“We were getting our kosher meat from Ukraine; we had ordered and paid for it, but they [Russian forces] didn’t let it through. We also paid for the Matzos, but that didn’t get through either. We need to figure out how to all our supplies through now. We are appealing to everyone to help out the Jewish community there.”

Sam Kliger, the American Jewish Committee’s director of Russian Jewish community affairs, told JNS.org that according to international law and most Western observers, the referendum was illegitimate.

“In 1991, Crimea went to independent Ukraine because, since 1954, it was part of Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic which in turn was an integral part of the Soviet Union,” said Kliger. “That is why nobody really cared. As long as it was a part of the USSR, it did not really matter whether it is formally a part of Russia or Ukraine. Now Russia, using as pretext the instability created by Ukrainian revolution and imaginary ‘discrimination’ against ethnic Russians, just grabbed the opportunity to return Crimea to where, according to Russia, it historically belongs.”

About the Author: www.JNS.org is an independent, non-profit business resource and wire service covering Jewish news and Israel news for Jewish media throughout the English-speaking world.


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.

27 Responses to “Rabbi in Crimea Makes it Out on the Last Train”

  1. Fyi Yael Waknine Weiss

  2. Karen Bryant says:

    I’m glad he and Torah scroll safe. Now more should leave while they still can. But its shameful that they should ever be in this horrendous position .

  3. It’s time for all the Jews of Crimea to escape & make Aliyah, to come home.

  4. He wrote a note to the Lubavitcher Rebbe?

  5. All Jews in the area must be brought ti israel immediately.

  6. He left,because he is american.

  7. Where did he escape to? Ukraine? And he thinks it is safer for Jews? I doubt it
    .

  8. Steve Brown says:

    There is a strange historical echo emanating from this region…it's sounding a lot like 1934 Germany…Perhaps Jews had best get out while the getting is easy ? This scenario could descend into war fairly easily and who better to blame for the resulting problems than the Jews ? It never changes.

  9. Reading this reminds me of the pre-WWII and the Holocaust when Jews in different part of Europe either stayed (at ultimate cost to themselves or family members) or tried to escape just before the Nazi takeover. The U.S. needs to do more than it has been for these people!

  10. Carlos Font says:

    I believe that,in the end. Putin is going to fail. When the US government becomes more credible in November, things will get tough for him. Am I dreaming?

  11. don't doubt it. It is as safe for Jews as for everybody else
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4497618,00.html

  12. Sandra Mefford Moyer says:

    Even Americans who love Ukrainian culture are no longer welcome!!! My brother has devoted over a decade to help preserve Ukrainian culture, and now it seems even he is no longer welcome….how sad!

  13. Good luck, rabbi. Ukraine will welcome you. You and your fellow faithful are welcome there. Flee from the Russian fascists!

  14. Joe Mroz says:

    He didn't escape to Ukraine. He was already in Ukraine. He escaped from a foreign occupation of the region of Ukraine he was in.

  15. Russian official propaganda still blaims that ukrainian revolution are leaded by nazis and anti-semits – but when you turn on russian TV, or communicate with ethnic russians in internet ( forums, chats, ets. ) – it's clerly whot anti-semitic modern Russia are.

  16. Yuki Petit says:

    Look at this US propaganda piece.

  17. This is really sad to hear. May G-d protect the rabbi and his family.

  18. Joshua Cane says:

    yes all the Jews have to get out now, the nazi's in the Ukraine are on the rampage

  19. Steve Brook says:

    Whatever the Russians do is going to be wrong. It wouldn't matter if they were really the Angel Gabriel in person, they'd be the guys in black hats. The Cold War lives! Read my letter again!

  20. If you want to know through, better ask Russians that live in Crimea, not Jewish rabbi. I live in Israel now, but I was born in Crimea, and I know from my classmates that they are really happy "to return home to Russia". I trust them.

  21. Right Extremist "Right sector" free reign in Lviv (Lemberg) Western Ukraine, the police are powerless. The video shows, among other things, like the neo-Nazis confiscate the jacket of a passerby and then they smear. Also, it is painted on the wall of a Russian bank words "RIGHT SECTOR". Video recordings of the March 20, 2014
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czteEiwhLMQ

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
J-Street
J Street: The Jewish Enemy Within
Latest News Stories
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Organization President Mohammad Sarafraz.

The US decides “no more extensions” as international nuclear talks with Iran come down to the wire.

Former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky serves today as the Jewish Agency for Israel's Chairman of the Executive.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky expresses his firm support for Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.

Elephants in the Water

With temperatures soaring, everyone is getting in the water…

Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems deployed in a military exercise.

Russia closed its deal Monday to deliver the powerful S-300 missile defense system to Iran… eventually.

Flash floods and more rain in Texas means a rising death toll and desperate people searching in kayaks.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Netanyahu government voted Wednesday to form a new ministerial committee on Arab affairs.

Shurat HaDin calls for expulsion of PA soccer chief Rajoub for inciting terror – hours before Swiss arrests of FIFA officials for various charges of corruption.

Rabbi Riskin believes the Rabbinate must be prepared to accept Halachic decisions that aren’t Ultra-Orthodox.

The case also called for banning the sale of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Liberation newspaper in Egypt over “blasphemy against Prophet Mohamed.”

Saed Erekat: Israel first must agree to all of our terms before we negotiate.

The temperature is expected to reach extreme levels today, drink water.

“In the chaos of the conflict… Hamas…granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuse, amounting to war crimes.”

The Israeli Air Force responded to a rocket attack from Gaza by striking terrorist sites within the Strip.

Information on more than 100,000 US taxpayers was stolen by hackers who breached the IRS.

Hamas terrorist leaders are hiding again as Israel considers a response to Tuesday’s rocket attack.

“In the chaos of the conflict… Hamas…granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuse, amounting to war crimes.”

More Articles from JNS News Service
One of the Molotov Cocktails thrown at the Beit Orot Yeshiva in Jerusalem. (June 16, 2014)

Between June 2014 and April 2015, the suspects habitually hurled rocks and firebombs into a number of Jewish-owned homes and facilities in A-Tur.

The Illinois State House of Representatives Executive Committee on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill that would prohibit state pension funds from including in their portfolios companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The 10-0 committee vote follows the 49-0 passage of the measure in the Illinois State Senate and […]

The Indiana General Assembly has become the second-ever state legislature to pass a resolution that formally opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Tennessee lawmakers approved a similar measure on April 21. Adopted in a voice vote, the Indiana Senate approved Resolution 74, which “expresses opposition to the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel” BDS […]

Tennessee becomes the first state to formally condemn the BDS movement.

Israel ranks as the third-largest provider of U.S. television content after the U.K. and the Netherlands, Forbes reported. Three Israeli companies—Armoza Formats, Keshet Media Group, and Dori Media—have sold the concepts of more than 100 shows to many countries around the world including France, Brazil, Indonesia, and the United States. Noa Tishby, a well-known Israeli-American […]

PA Chairman Abbas congratulated the Arab party on its success in the March 17 Israeli elections.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, had contacted French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to complain about the project.

Additionally, the report recommends new restrictions against “known violent settlers.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/rabbi-in-crimea-escapes-with-torah-scroll/2014/03/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: