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Ukraine Native to Assist in Synagogue’s Facelift Following Rebirth of His Community

Dovid Zaklikowski –

Pavel Miripolsky poses inside the Artist Studio next to a board featuring his sketches and designs of synagogue furniture. (Photo: Shlomo Neimark)

KHERSON, Ukraine — After many years, the Jewish community of Kherson, Ukraine, is receiving a spiritual home befitting of its modern revival. Taking part in the project is Pavel Miripolsky, a native-born designer who moved to Israel in 1991.

“When I left Kherson,” says Miripolsky, who received a degree in design from Kherson’s university, “there was almost nothing as far as Judaism is concerned. I had heard that they got back the synagogue around the time that I left, but I remember Judaism there was very primitive.

Speaking for the Black Sea port’s Jewish residents, Rabbi Avraham Wolff, who served as a longtime rabbi of the community before becoming the chief rabbi of nearby Odessa, says the renovation to the city’s central synagogue is about time.

His first interaction with the community was as a rabbinical student in the summer of 1992, when he and Rabbi Dovid Mondshine – today, the director of the Moscow-based network of more than 110 Or Avner Chabad Day Schools and 89 kindergartens throughout the former Soviet Union – landed as part of the Chabad-Lubavitch Roving Rabbis program. Their base of operations was a small room in what used to be Kherson’s main synagogue.

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