FJC’s Jewish community of Kherson, southern Ukraine celebrated last week the opening of a memorial complex at the burial site of Rabbi Hillel from Parich, one of the region’s most prominent rabbis in the 19th century.
Besides being a spiritual respite for Jews from all over the world, the site also represents an important historical landmark, whose preservation is a vital part of preserving the region’s Jewish legacy overall.
“This is an important event for global Jewry, and we are very thankful first of all to the local community members for their initiative and determination in carrying out this project,” said Rabbi Yossef Wolf, chief rabbi of the Southern Ukraine region at the opening ceremony. “Rabbi Hillel is considered one the greatest and righteous figures in later Judaism and keeping his legacy alive fills our hearts with joy.”
Southern Ukraine was the birthplace of Judaism’s Chasidic movement in the 18th century and its land is interspersed with significant Jewish sites. Unfortunately, many of them were neglected and lost during the Communist rule. When the border was opened at the onset of Jewish heritage revival in the 90’s, experts from Israel’s chief rabbinate visited Kherson to identify Rabbi Hillel’s burial site, where a memorial stone was later erected.
Now, 25 years later, a more permanent memorial complex structure was built that will be able to host numerous visitors and provide the infrastructure to conduct various Jewish activities and gatherings.
The festive opening was attended by many regional officials, community friends, and guests as well the community members themselves. The official ceremony was followed by a Jewish violin concert and a festive meal.