Twelve Candles

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, Mr. David Lau, was present at the Opening Ceremony of the monument to the Leningrad Rabbis killed in 1937

Twelve Leningrad Rabbis were sentenced to death in 1937 and 1938. Twelve mourning candles were lit at the Levashovski Cemetery of St. Petersburg on December, 18th Twelve Candlesthis year.

Back at times of the Soviet Rule and political repressions, all kinds of religious practices were completely illegal, therefore all confessions were banned, and their leaders, including Rabbis, subjected to merciless execution.

Mr. Ifrah Abramov, one of today's St. Petersburg Rabis, has found the exact spot where bodies were burried by searching through an impressive number of documents from the Soviet era. He managed to get access to the KGB archives of that period. The research has brought up the fact that all those Rabbis have been dug in somewhere at this Levashovski Cemetery.

Truck drivers who brought the bodies over to the Cemetery and conducted the mass funeral, left a hand-drawn map showing the precise location of the burial place. Since Rabbi Abramov was aware of the year of execution, and all names of the dead Rabbis were known, Abramov eventually came up with an idea of a monument.

It took him over two years to go through all negotiations with the City Administration, soliciting and canvassing, and the monument was installed in October 2014.

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, Mr. David Lau, was present at the Opening Ceremony.

"These Hanuka days make all of us recall that glorious story of those Jews who chose death over slavery. And today we stand near this monument to the Leningrad Rabis who, just like our ancestors, bravely strove through the rough patches to living up to their faith and beliefs. Days and nights, rain or shine...", spoke Rabbi David Lau.

By Dima Sharov

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