Alexander Friedkis, 79, AH

Alexander Friedkis, who served as the president of the Jewish community in Dnipro even during the dark years of Communism, and who invited the Rebbe to serve as the leader of the community, passed away.

By reporter

Alexander Friedkis, the president of the religious community in the city of Dnipro, who was the “torchbearer of Yiddishkeit” in the city during the Communist years, passed away on Sunday, 20 Tammuz.

He was 74 years old.

Alexander was born in 5704 (1944) to his father, R’ Avraham, and mother, Bella Friedkis, in Dnipro. His parents had been part of the community which had been under the spiritual guidance of the renowned Harav Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, father of the Rebbe.

Starting as a young man, and continuing for several decades, Alexander devotedly managed religious affairs in the city, serving as the president of the “Chevra Kadisha” and treasurer of the central shul, named ‘Shoshanas Yaakov’. He also worked as a highly regarded physician and surgeon.

The Chief Rabbi and Head Shliach of Dnipro, Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetski, stated that Alexander was the “torchbearer of Judaism” in Ukraine during the years of Communism. According to him, to the best of his knowledge, Alexander was the only Jew throughout the country who consistently attended the local synagogue every Sabbath during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, despite the threats from the Communist regime, which could have resulted in him losing his job.

Every year, Alexander would travel to Moscow alongside his predecessor, R’ Hersh Krol, to bring back 50 tons of matzah and holiday supplies for the thousands of Jews in the city who maintained their Jewish traditions under difficult circumstances.

After the fall of communism, Alexander and R’ Hersh turned to the Rebbe and proposed that he return to Dnipro to assume the role previously held by his father as the city’s rabbi.

Rabbi Kaminetski described Alexander as a unique individual. “He was a role model, a living example of a Jew who dedicated his entire life to influencing others with Yiddishkeit with genuine emunah. He had mesiras nefesh to keep the ‘Jewish spark’ alive, even during challenging times, and was a true source of kindness, helping other Yidden in any way he could.”

During the past year, Alexander fell severely ill. Although he required professional medical treatment that necessitated leaving Ukraine, he refused to depart due to his selfless devotion. Instead, he assisted the Federation of Jewish Communities in heroic efforts to rescue thousands of Jews from the city and bring them to safe countries outside of Ukraine.

He is survived by his wife and his son, R’ Aharon Friedkis – Har Chabad, Kiryat Malachi, and grandchildren.

The levaya took place at the cemetery in Kiryat Malachi.

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