A Century Later, Kaliningrad Mikva Completed with Celebration

Nestled between Poland and Lithuania, the historical city of Kaliningrad is home to thousands of Jews and many more tourists. One hundred years after the local mikvah was destroyed, a new mikvah was constructed.

On the shores of the Baltic Sea, nestled between Poland and Lithuania, is a piece of Russian land. The historical city of Kaliningrad, previously known as Konigsburg, is home to thousands of Jews, and welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists annually.

The city’s largest shul was rebuilt and restored a few years ago, on the very same spot where it stood before it was destroyed during the infamous Kristallnacht.

Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar arrived for its Grand Reopening, and has visited several times since when he came to inspect the kashrus in some of the nearby food factories. Having in mind the Jewish community’s many needs, he appointed Rabbi Avraham Boruch Deutch and his family as shluchim there to run the Chabad House and develop the community’s infrastructure.

After the shul’s reconstruction, the Jews of Kaliningrad understood the dire need for a mikva as the basis for building a Jewish family according to halacha. Kaliningrad’s unique location meant that the nearest mikva required crossing the border or a two-and-a-half-hour flight to Moscow or St. Petersburg. Of course, this was extremely challenging for the local community families, and the need to build a kosher mikva urgently was very clear.

With tremendous efforts and incredible siyata dishmaya, the dream turned into reality, thanks to the support of dear friends and supporters from all over the world, The Rabbinical Center of Europe, Fund 770, and others who opened their hearts and their pockets, and merited to be partners in adding purity to the Jewish people, in a city which has been bereft of a mikva for the last century since it had been tragically destroyed.

Last week the city’s Jews celebrated the official opening of Phase 1. The mikva was meticulously planned by the world-famous architect who specializes in mikvas Reb Shmuel Levin, under the halachic supervision of Rabbi Zalman Shimon HaKohen Deren, Mazkir and Mikva expert of Russia’s Chief Rabbinate.

The city’s Rabbi, Dovid Shwedik was honored with putting up the mezuza on the main entrance, and the community president Mr. Eliezer Yirmiyahu Flitman and philanthropist Mr. Yevgeny Chermov were honored with unveiling of the commemorative plaques. Special thanks to philanthropist Mr. Dovid Aminov whose great contribution was in loving memory of his mother, with the mikva bearing her name.

Additionally, three community members merited to have a bris by the mohel Rabbi Mordechai Tzvi Solomon who was sent especially by the organization “Bris Yosef Yitzchok”. Along with young yeshiva students who arrived for shabbos from Moscow’s Yeshiva Ketana to support and strengthen the local Jewish community – Kalliningrad experienced an especially uplifting week!

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