While Ukraine Remains Engulfed in War, Historic Berdichev Shul Undergoes Major Renovation
By: Yehuda Alter
The country of Ukraine is in chaos, and the future often seems bleak. But this does not seem to stop the Rabbi Moshe Thaler, the indefatigable Chabad Shliach to the city, from undertaking a massive project to renew the historic shul.
We caught up with him as he was rushing to a levaya of one of the members of his kehillah–one of seemingly 1,000 duties that he carries on his energetic shoulders.
Rabbi Thaler, who recently made headlines with his discovery of the actual resting place of the Rebbe Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev, zy”a–related that the 130-year-old Shul on Vinnytska Street was built with beautiful architectural features, and had a functioning matzoh bakery in the basement.
“Throughout the years of Communism it functioned as a Shul, welcoming the Yidden of the city throughout that terrible era,” Rabbi Thaler said.
A few years ago, a massive leak formed in the shul, which caused lots of damage to the structure, and in addition, the entrance was crumbling–making it dangerous to enter the building. A major renovation has been undertaken, largely through the generosity of a donor in Brooklyn.
With the country under attack, is now the time to undertake such a project? Rabbi Thaler explained that now is precisely the time. “Eventually this will all be over, and then the country will need to rebuild from all the destruction. At that point, the prices of building materials will skyrocket, and it will be difficult to find laborers. So now is the best time to do this,” he said.
The shul will be completely renovated, and there will be a Mikvah and dining room on site. The project is set to take about six months, overseen all the while by Rabbi Thaler who is looking ahead to brighter days in the country of Ukraine.