100-Year-Old Chabad Shul Restored in Vitebsk, Belarus

(COLlive) – Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the inauguration of the Chabad Synagogue in the heart of Vitebsk, Belarus. The event, which took place from Shabbos Nachamu until Monday, marked the long-awaited completion of the grand building restored in honor of 100 years since the synagogue’s original establishment. The original building was destroyed by the Communist regime when Belarus was a soviet state.

The ceremony was led by the Rabbi of the ‘Bolshoi Bronia’ synagogue in Moscow, Rabbi Yitzchak Kogan, whose family had a significant presence in the city. After obtaining the necessary approval from the government and collaborating with the local Jewish community, Rabbi Kogan oversaw the restoration of the synagogue to its previous glory.

The celebrations began on erev Shabbos, when a delegation arrived from Moscow, joining Rabbi Kogan in celebrating the first Shabbos in the newly refurbished synagogue. Throughout the weekend, prayers, lectures, festive meals, and uplifting gatherings took place on the premises.

On Sunday morning, on the arrival of the distinguished guest, Rabbi Berel Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia, the final letters of a sefer Torah were written. The hachnasas sefer Torah included a festive parade in which the Torah was placed under a chuppah and marched through the city streets all the way to the synagogue. The streets were secured by Belarusian police, and the local municipality cleaned and spruced up the entire area in honor of the new sefer Torah.

Among the dignitaries attending were the Minister of Religion, the Governor of the region, and the Mayor, who participated for a prolonged period. Chabad emissaries and rabbis from various Belarusian communities were also present.

The official ceremony took place in a massive tent erected in the synagogue’s courtyard, where prestigious honors were bestowed upon government representatives, distinguished donors, community leaders, and all those who contributed to the synagogue’s completion and the success of the celebration in Vitebsk, uniting the entire Jewish community of Belarus.

Over the course of the celebrations, Bris Milah ceremonies were performed by Dr. Yeshaya Shapit from Moscow, and Rabbi Kogan performed several pidyon haben ceremonies.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!