Commemorating 140 years since the passing of Rabbi Yisroel Salanter OBM, a new ‘Ohel’ structure has been added to his gravesite in the Old Jewish cemetery in the center of Kaliningrad – Kenigsburg.
The Jewish community of Kaliningrad is getting ready for a special day, the 140th memorial day of Rabbi Yisroel Salanter OBM, founder of the Musar movement. He founded his yeshiva in the nearby city of Kovno but was buried in the city of Kaliningrad which was known as Kenigsburg while it was under German rule. At the end of WWII, it was annexed to the USSR, and today it is a Russian enclave with European flavor nestled on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania.
Every year on his memorial day, the city’s Jews visit his gravesite to pray and light candles, despite the bitter cold outside. At the initiative of the Chabad emissary to Kaliningrad, Rabbi Avraham Boruch Deutch, a permanent structure was built over the grave. The building was overseen by Rabbi Yisroel Meir Gabbai, president of “Oholei Tzadikim”, and with the assistance of his grandson, philanthropist Rabbi Reuven Dessler from the USA, who also supports the Chabad activities in the city.
In honor of the 140th ‘yahrtzeit’, which will occur on the 25th of Shvat, Rabbi Deutch and the community president Mr. Eliezer Flitman arrived with a group to see that the last renovations will be taken care of, and to ensure the best conditions for the many guests expected to arrive for the yahrtzeit from all over the world in order to pray there.
They will be greeted by the city’s Rabbi, Dovid Shwedik, and community leaders, and will be able to enjoy Shabbat meals and services at the city’s central synagogue. Kaliningrad is one of the most beautiful cities in Russia, with a rich Jewish history, and many Jewish activities on a daily basis run by the dedicated local Chabad House and the Jewish community.
Photography: Kaliningrad Chabad House