Vegetation clearance, preparation of the boundary fence and access path and bridge has commenced at Lyubavichi in the Rudnyansky District of the Smolensk Region in Western Russia. It is the first project undertaken by the ESJF in the Russian Federation and has been made possible through the generous donation of Mr Joseph Popack of New York, facilitated by our partners, Geder Avos Jewish Heritage Group and Rabbi Moshe Rubin in the United States. The ESJF is working in Lyubavichi as the supervisory contractor for the project.
For 102 years, Lyubavich was the centre of Habad Hasidism and the movement has taken the name of the settlement. The third Lyubavicher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneersohn (Tsemakh Tsedek) (1789–1866), is buried in this cemetery, along with his successor, the fourth Lyubavicher Rebbe, Shmuel Schneersohn (1834–1882).
«As the first fence construction of the ESJF in Russia and at such a prominent historical site which has lay unfenced for so many years, this is a great privilege for us to be involved in its protection and preservation», ESJF Chief Executive Officer Philip Carmel said. Both the scope and the geographical location as well as the cost of fencing such a site would ordinarily have precluded us from working here but this has been made possible through Mr. Popacks’s very generous donation and through the support of Rabbi Moshe Rubin. It is indeed a major contribution to the preservation of the physical Jewish heritage in Eastern Europe and a mitzvah to preserve the graves of the deceased souls of this community who are buried here.»
The project, under the management of ESJF FSU Projects Manager Yana Yanover, designed by ESJF Chief Engineer Hryhoriy Arshynov and ESJF contracting architect Petro Herez, includes the full perimeter fencing of this previously unfenced site, pedestrian bridge and access path and lighting. The poor marshy soil at the site also requires special foundation work to ensure quality fencing.
On-site halachic supervision is provided by the Lyubavich shaliach (emissary) responsible for holy places in Lyubavichi, Rabbi Gordon Gavriel Lubavitch-Moscow.