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Jewish Council in Ukraine

The Jewish Council of Ukraine - the oldest national organization of the country, which came out of the Kiev Society of Culture, established in October 22, 1988 under the Ukrainian Cultural Fund.

The Council was one of the first Republican national organizations in the former USSR and the first national organization on the nationwide level.

Of the 23 organizations that were at that time in the Council, now it includes 160 associations of regional and city level. The Council premises are 410 square meters (20 rooms, conference hall, and reception hall).

The Jewish Council of Ukraine initiated the first exhibitions in Ukraine and the USSR on Jewish themes that were conducted in major museums: The National Museum of History of Ukraine, The National Museum of the Great Patriotic War, The National Literature Museum of Ukraine, The National Museum of Taras Shevchenko, The Kyiv History Museum, The Museum of Printing and Book of Ukraine. These exhibitions were dedicated to the heroism of Jews during the war, heroism of the Warsaw ghetto, Jewish Holocaust, the tragedy of Babyn Yar. The cultural events were held in the “Ukraine” Palace, The National Opera of Ukraine, The National Academic Drama Theatre of Ivan Franko, The Ukrainian House, the National Parliamentary Library and others.

On the initiative of the Jewish Council of Ukraine, the monuments to Sholom Aleichem, the “Menorah”, “Shot children in Babyn Yar”, a memorial plaque to Sholom Aleichem, Gold Meir, member of an underground Tetiana Marcus, writer David Hofshteyn, scientist Israel Medovar, composer Igor Shamo, conductor Nathan Rachlin, doctor Myhailo Sihalov, journalist Yakov Davydzon were established in Kiev

The Council has developed a ritual of commemoration of the Babyn Yar tragedy, which is held annually since 1989, adopted the title “Righteous of Ukraine”, “Righteous of Babyn Yar,” “Children of the righteous” and reward them with relevant diplomas (unique among the former Soviet republics). The Council has put Ukraine in the 3d place in Europe by the number of Righteous (The Soviet Union was in the 17th place in 1991).

Since 1999 the newspaper “Jewish news” conducts a A. I. Katsnelson contest of the poets (works in Ukrainian) and L. M. Vysheslavskyi contest (works in Russian). Since 1994 there is conferment of the title and diplomas “The Honorary Person of the Jewish Council of Ukraine” and the “Mizna” prize (“benefactions”) has been established for the disinterested deeds and charity.

In 1989 were initiated the Days of memory of Sholem Aleichem and the holiday of the street after his name. Every year the Days of memory of Babyn Yar are held: on the September 29-30 the President of Ukraine, the head of Verkhovna Rada, the Prime Minister, Head of Kyiv City State Administration, diplomats and others lay the flowers at the monument to the victims of Babyn Yar. Here the meeting of the memory of all the victims is conducted. According to the Jewish calendar, the Day of memory of the shot Jews is held with the procession down “the Road of death” - from the machinery plant to the “Menorah”, monument, where also the mourning rally is held.

From the first steps of its activity, the Jewish Council of Ukraine, overcoming resistance of some figures, has chosen the direction of close cooperation with government agencies and institutions. On such basis on the initiative of the Council in Kiev was opened the first in the USSR State Jewish library of O. Schwartzman (December 29, 1989.) Hebrew courses (28 January 1989), the Cabinet of Jewish Culture (1 December 1990), “Ukraine-Israel” association, the newspaper “Renaissance”, the International Solomon University. The Jewish groups in the Pedagogical Institute of Gorky (now Drahomanov) and the Institute of Performing Arts of Karpenko-Karyi were created. Creation of the museum-headquarters of Sholom Aleichem and the National Preserve “Babyn Yar”in Kiev was initiated. In 1989-1992 the Council assisted in the opening of Jewish schools in Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhya, Odesa.

The Council holds various conferences, seminars, concerts, round tables; it published 25 books (Books of Memory, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Jewish military encyclopedia, memories of witnesses of the tragedy in Babyn Yar, the book of the righteous, dictionary, book of humor, Jewish history books, albums, etc.).

Since 1991 the world’s only Jewish newspaper “Jewish news”, which is financed by the state has been issued. On the same principles the Council initiated the publication of newspapers of Bulgarian, Armenian, Polishand Romanian associations.

The structure of the Jewish Council of Ukraine includes the following institutions:

The Foundation “Remembrance of victims of fascism in Ukraine.”

The Foundation “Remembrance of Babi Yar” with the exhibition hall.

Newspaper “Jewish news”.

Ukrainian association of war veterans.

Association of the Righteous of the Babyn Yar.

Department “Sholem Aleichem and Ukraine”.

Association of sports veterans.

Ukrainian museum fund with the exhibition hall.

Center “Heroism and Holocaust”.

Exhibition “The Jewish people in World War II”.

Ukrainian Association of Jewish media.

Editorial “The Jewish Encyclopedia of Ukraine”.

Editorial “The Memory Book of Ukraine”.

Editorial “The Book of Sorrow of Ukraine”.

The search service.

Department of exhibitions.

Sunday school.

Archive.

Youth Center.

Library with books in Yiddish, Hebrew, Ukrainian, Russian.

Club of intellectuals.

Movie Club and movie lecture hall.

The club “Kyivoznavets”.

Literary Studio

Newspaper Fund.

The Council patronages the high school in Voronkiv country of Boryspil district, where Sholom Aleichem lived. There was created a museum, concerts are conducted, over 100 books and computer were given to the library school.

On the initiative of the Jewish Council of Ukraine, the President of Ukraine returned the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union to Myhailo Hrabskyi and Mili Felzenshteyn, which they were deprived of after the departure abroad, to the USA and Israel.

By nomination of the Jewish Council of Ukraine 298 Righteous of the Babyn Yar and Ukraine were awarded the Orders “For Service”, and 18 people were awarded the honorary titles of the National and Honorary Artist of Ukraine, People’s and Honorary Artist of Ukraine, Honorary Worker of Culture of Ukraine: composer J. Tsehlyar, artist I. Tartakovsky, ballet masters A. Rubina and E. Monarch, singers I. Helfer and A. Makarovskyi, poet A .Katsnelson, writer O. Lizen. The Heads of the associations S. Belman and M. Holdenberh were awarded the Orders “For Service” and certificates of honor of the President of Ukraine, the famous member of an underground Tetiana Marcus and liberator of Auschwitz concentration camp A. P. Shapiro were awarded the titles “The Hero of Ukraine”.

The Council took the initiative of celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the famous writer Sholom Aleichem at the state level, and for this the organizational committee was founded by the Order of the Cabinet of Ministers to conduct the event.

The Jewish Council of Ukraine has repeatedly provided humanitarian assistance to various organizations of the district e.g. Center of the youth social assistance, gave the books to the Kiev military hospital and district schools.

The Jewish Council of Ukraine is a cultural organization, not only for Jews but also for the residents of Kyiv and the district. Many people of different nationalities attend events, conducted by the Council and subscribe the newspaper “Jewish news”. The similar situation with the members of literary studio and the movie picture hall that are opened for all. The Association of Righteous consists entirely of non-Jewish nationality people, mostly Ukrainians.

President of the Jewish Council of Ukraine I. M. Levitas met at the Babyn Yar and tald about the tragedy that took place there to the Presidents of Ukraine: L. M. Kravchuk, L. D. Kuchma, V. A. Yushchenko, to the U.S. Presidents D. Bush and B. Clinton, to the President of Israel M. Katsav, Germany-R. Hertsog, Israeli Prime Ministers I. Shamir, I. Rabin, B. Netanyahu and other public figures of Ukraine and abroad, as well as diplomats and numerous delegations from many countries.

The Jewish Council of Ukraine – noncommercial, nonprofit organization that exists solely through charitable contributions of various organizations and individuals.

Some cultural events (concerts, exhibitions, seminars) are financed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine, State Committee of Ukraine on Nationalities and Religions and Kyiv City State Administration.

Jewish Council of Ukraine has been repeatedly visited by the state foreign organizations of Israel, Russia, USA, England, Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Norway, ambassadors of many countries, as well as state officials of Ukraine, ministers, MPs and others.

Contact Information

01103 Kyiv-103, Nimanska sSt., 7
Tel.: 286-3961, 284-9154, fax: 285-9604
E-mail: levit@voliacable.com; levitas@ukr.net
Account №26000026425881 in Pechersk department of the PJSC “Ukrsotsbank” MFO 322012, UCEO 21714554