Photo Credit: Kiev Jewish Community / R Vilenskiey
New Beit Shmuel community center opens in Anatevka, Ukraine.

Anatevka, a small Jewish refugee town 30 km west of Kiev, hosted yesterday an official opening of a new Community Rehab Center – ‘Beit Shmuel’ – funded by the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) and its President, Dr. Michael Mirilashvili, and Alexander Levin, Chair of the Kiev Jewish Community and EAJC Vice-President.

The Center was named after Alexander Levin’s brother, Shmuel, who tragically lost his life a few years ago, and is dedicated to his memory. The new Center occupies an area of 1,800 sq.m. and spans three floors. The space will serve various community needs and function as a medical rehabilitation center.

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Rabbi Moshe Azman, who bought this land together with the village of Anatevka, famous as a site of Sholom Aleichem’s story and a Hollywood musical, Fiddler on the Roof, which is based on it, four years ago to date, affixed mezuzahs on the doors of the Center and on one of the 7 houses of the Museum of Hasidism in Ukraine encircling it.

Several hundred people attended yesterday’s event, including Vyacheslav Kucher, Vice Governor of Kiev region, Vadim Rabinovich, EAJC First Vice-President and President of All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress, Boris Lozhkin, President of Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, as well as rabbis and high-ranking officials from across Ukraine, Israel, and the United States.

From the EAJC side, the ceremony was attended by Emmanuil Grinshpun, EAJC Vice-President, Haim Ben Yakov, EAJC CEO, Meny Bushueyv, EAJC Treasurer and Chief of Staff and Professor Zeev Hanin, Chair of Academic Council of EAJC Institute.

The EAJC delegation led by Michael Mirilashvili also visited Kiev on the occasion of the Kyiv Jewish Forum, the first international Jewish conference in Ukraine and one of the largest of its kind in Europe. EAJC was the partner of the Forum’s main organizer – the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine.

Following the official opening ceremony, the guests were invited for a tour of an adjoining heder, a Jewish day school for boys aged 5-13, and a unique wooden synagogue. The tour was followed by a celebratory luncheon for all the guests.

EAJC President Mirilashvili, who has personally supported many of Rabbi Azman’s projects, noted that every time he visits Anatevka, he finds a new great project successfully completed, another small miracle wrought. Anatevka is home to the grave of Rabbi Motel of Chernobyl (the Chernobyl Rebbe) and is on the way to Berditchev.

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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.