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Jewish Tours Argentina

It Had Its History

The Jews of Russia

In the 1920’s the Soviet state embarked on an active program of closing and destroying religious institutions. There were trials in 1921 against the Cheders - Yeshivas. Very quickly they were shut down, but for many years Cheders continued to carry on an underground existence. In 1923 there was a campaign against the Synagogues. The Moscow Synagogue managed to be saved through an appeal by Rabbi Mazer. In 1926, 1,103 synagogues were still open in the Soviet Union, in 1945, 500 and in 1954 only a hundred. In 1965 there were 40 rabbis in the Soviet Union as reported by the Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Judah-Leib Levin. Throughout the country old synagogues vanished and new ones not built.

Once there had been the famous Volozhin Yeshiva founded by Hayyim Volozhiner in Belorussia. Here at one time there were 400 students, many coming from outside of the country. During the wars in 1813, there was a letter of protection instructing all military units to “safeguard the Chief Rabbi of Volozhin, his schools and educational institutions... and to extend to the above-mentioned Chief Rabbi every assistance and protection.”

There was the famous Yeshiva Mir founded by Samuel b. Hayyim Tiktinski in 1815 of which the student body of the Yeshiva was saved during the Holocaust by escaping to Shanghai. The last Rabbi being Abraham Zevi Kamai from 1917 to the Holocaust. After the war (1947) the Yeshiva transferred to Brooklyn, New York and later on some of its scholars joined the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

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