How Much Do You Know About the Chassidim of Samarkand?

While on a visit to Samarkand, Rabbi Velvl Butman photographed the Chabad section in the local Jewish cemetery, providing a window into a much vaunted period of time in Chabad history. What information can you add?

By reporter

The name ‘Samarkand’ has a loaded connotation among Chabad chassidim. Virtually every chossid can relate a story from Samarkand, whether from a grandparent, a relative, or from reading about it in a book.

Originally the home to a large Bukharian Jewish community, Samarkand became home to thousands of Chabad Chassidim during WWII. The war, together with the Soviet persecutions, had many chassidim move to far-away Uzbekistan, where they established a community of their own.

Slowly but surely, more and more chassidim arrived, and eventually, Samarkand was home to the largest Chabad community in USSR. It was also home to a vast network of underground Chabad yeshivos. The stories from the lives and times of the chassidim there, and their mesiras nefesh for Yiddishkeit, are told to this day at farbrengens and other occasions.

Recently, Rabbi Velvl Butman traveled to Samarkand. While there, he visited the Chabad section in the local Jewish community. He photographed many of the gravestones there, many bearing names familiar from those stories, and other with names that are not as well known.

He also photographed a local Bukharian shul in the Old City of Samarkand, where many Chabad chassidim davened. The shul even built a ‘chabadnitze’ – a side room for chassidim to daven in length.

Do you know any information about the chassidim whose names are engraved on these matzeivos?

Share it with us, and other readers, in the comments below, and help preserve the legacy of chassidim’s mesiras nefesh for future generations!

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  1. #14 is Reb Dovid Horodoker. There’s a whole Sefer that was recently published about him by one of his descendants called “Beinoni”.

  2. #23 is Rochel Leah Botvinikov.

    She was the oldest daughter of the chasid R’ Meir Simcha Chein of Nevel.

    She married Hatomim R’ Shmuel Botvinikov. Her shidduch was arranged by the Rebbe Rashab.

  3. Yehudah Chanoch (“Leib Henoch”) Menkin. The only son of Reb Alexander Sender and Aida (Lipsker) Menkin
    A exceptional Bochur who passed away young from Malaria, while learning in Tomchei Temimim in Samarkand
    He had two sisters:
    Zlata – Married Reb Refoel Wilschanski
    Asya – Marries Reb Heishkeh Dubrowsky.

    1. Chaya Gitta (nee Belinov) wife of Yechiel Michel Goldshmid.
      Mother of:
      Motel Goldshmid
      Benzion Goldshmid
      Baila Naimark
      Malka Golowinski

  4. Zelig aharonov. Grandfather of horav Aharonov in Eretz Yisroel today.
    His daughter married herschel ceitlin.
    His picture is one of the first in Folleh Kahn’s sefer lubavitch vichayoleh.

  5. #13 are the sisters Bracha (married Reb Avrohom Zaltzman) and Chaya Aidele (married Reb Bentzion Moshe Pil, matriarch to the Mishulovin and Pil families), daughters of Reb Hillel Pewsner.

    1. The stone between the two headstones says something along the lines of this: they, who were not separated in life, will not be separated in death.

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