Work has commenced at the Lyubavichi Jewish cemetery in the Rudnyansky District of Smolensk, with vegetation clearance and construction on the fence, access path, and bridge well underway. It is the first project undertaken by the ESJF in the Russian Federation and was made possible through a generous donation from Mr Joseph Popack of New York, facilitated by our partners in the United States, Rabbi Moshe Rubin and the Geder Avos Jewish Heritage Group. The ESJF has been contracted to supervise this project.
For 102 years, Lyubavich has been the namesake and global centre of Chabad Hasidism. 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 is being managed by ESJF FSU Projects Manager Yana Yanover and designed by ESJF Chief Engineer Hryhoriy Arshynov and ESJF contracting architect Petro Herez, and will comprise of fencing the full perimeter of the site, working on the foot bridge and access path, and improving the cemetery’s lighting. Moreover, the site’s marshy soil necessitates special foundation work to ensure the stability of the new fencing.
On-site halachic supervision is provided by the Lyubavich shaliach (emissary) responsible for holy places in Lyubavichi, Rabbi Gordon Gavriel Lubavitch-Moscow.