Amidst much fanfare, The Jewish community of Dnipro gathered together to celebrate the reopening of its lifesaving boys’ Children’s home and Orphanage. The orphanage is located inside the historic synagogue building of the famous Kabbalist Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson OBM.
In 1939 the synagogue was confiscated from the Jewish community and turned into apartments and later an office building by the communist regime. In 1995, through the vested efforts of the Rabbi of Dnipro, Rabbi Shmuel Kaminezki, the city council recognized the historic importance of this building and returned it to the Jewish Community.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, so too did the social and economic structure of the newly democratic country. Rabbi Kaminezki was flooded with pleas to help children living in distress. Most of these children were from families suffering from poverty, abuse, alcoholism, and neglect. Social Services were completely ineffective and were limited to a few orphanages that were notoriously abusive. Children who were sent to these orphanages would try to escape because a homeless life on the streets was preferable to the abuse suffered in these institutions.
In order to help these children, Rabbi Kaminezki teamed up with Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson from the Tzivos Hashem organization in NY and the “Esther and William Benenson home for boys” was founded. A few years later a second orphanage was opened for girls.
After 20 years of giving hundreds of neglected children a better life, the orphanage was relocated and, with the help of local sponsors, the building was completely renovated into a more comfortable and modern home for the children.
Local businessman and president of the “Solidarity” International charitable fund, Alexander Petrovsky, teamed up with community board member Alexander Turchin to finance this great undertaking. In recognition of their efforts, the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon was awarded to Mr. and Mrs. Petrovsky and Mr. Turchin.
Accompanied by the heartrending singing of the “Goldene Kinderlach” children’s choir, the guests joined the children inside.
The honor of unveiling the plaque commemorating this auspicious day was given to Mr. Alexander Koganovski, who sponsored the original reconstruction in 1995, along with Mr. Yaakov Shapiro, who designed the current renovations, and the Director of Tzivos Hashem in Eastern Europe, Rabbi Yossi Glick.
After a tour of the newly renovated and refurbished building, everyone joined together for a beautifully catered meal.