Nearly a century after the Frierdiker Rebbe was exiled by the Soviets to the city of Kostroma, the city has made a full 180, recognizing and celebrating the work of the local Chabad shliach over the past 20 years.
In a special ceremony, the city council of the West Russian city of Kostroma awarded Chief Rabbi Nissan Ruppo a certificate of appreciation for his devoted activity for the benefit of the city’s residents and its Jewish community for the last 20 consecutive years.
The certificate was presented to Rabbi Ruppo, along with warm congratulations, by the city’s mayor Mr. Yuri Zhurin, who emphasized the great appreciation the council and residents have for the Rabbi’s ongoing efforts for over two decades.
The city of Kostroma once served as the exile location of the Frierdiker Rebbe, after he was arrested by the Soviet regime for the “crime” of spreading Yiddishkeit. After an international outcry, his sentence was commuted on Yud Beis Tammuz, 5687.
In the past two decades, the city has seen a Jewish revival. During his 20 years of activity, together with his wife and family, Rabbi Ruppo has actively brought about the revival of the city’s Jewish community, established numerous institutions and projects, and served as an address for every need.
His varied activities include Jewish educational initiatives for different ages, the distribution of humanitarian aid, prayer services, the reconstruction and maintenance of the city’s historic synagogue, Jewish heritage and Torah classes, a wide range of religious services, activities for children, teenagers, and young adults, holiday events and much more.
“It was an exciting milestone,” said Rabbi Nissan Ruppo after the event, “and I’m thankful and grateful, however, this is only the beginning… I pray to the Almighty, that he will give me the strength and ability to do much more and never be satisfied.”