Taganrog Community Welcomes New Rabbi

A new Rabbi has been appointed to serve the revived Jewish community of Taganrog, a port city on the north shore of the Sea of Azov in the Rostov-on-Don Oblast in Southern Russia. Rabbi Arie Leib Tkatch and his wife Mrs. Yehudit, formerly from the Jewish community of Krasnodar, will lead the community’s synagogue and religious services.

The Jewish history of Taganrog dates back to the 19th century. In 1887, the city was incorporated into a region that was not part of the ‘Pale of Settlement’ and consequently additional Jews were forbidden from joining. The city’s Grand Synagogue was established in 1860 and served the Jewish community until the Second World War. When the Nazis occupied the city, approximately 2,500 Jews who hadn’t managed to escape in time were brutally murdered. Only one 14-year-old Jewish youngster is known to have survived.

After the war, the Soviet regime closed the Synagogue and the community’s institutions, declaring all religious-affiliated activity illegal and counter-revolutionary. Since then the Jewish community ceased to exist.

In the last few years, the community started to form once again and many of its members became frequent visitors at the synagogue of Rostov which is relatively near Taganrog. Recently, it has been decided that the community had grown large enough to have its own synagogue and a permanent Rabbi.

Rostov’s Chief Rabbi, Chaim Danzinger, who visited and served the needs of the Taganrog community for many years, approached the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, who recommended Rabbi Arie Leib Tkatch as the right person for the task.

“We have known Rabbi Tkatch for many years,” Rabbi Danzinger explained. “He has successfully led the Jewish community of Krasnodar and accumulated vast experience. After spending a Shabbat weekend in Taganrog, his appointment was confirmed at an official meeting of the community. We are certain that under his leadership the community will continue to thrive and flourish.”

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