Russia’s Gemach Celebrates 22 Years of Kindness

Friends and supporters gathered for a melave malka benefiting the ‘Keren Chaya Mushka’ Gemach, which services Yidden throughout the former Soviet Union.

Photos: Levi Nazarov

On Motzei Shabbos of Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei, the crowds began arriving at the banquet hall for the Grand Melava Malka. The annual event, held this year for the 22nd time was to benefit the Keren Chaya Mushka Gemach that was founded in loving memory of the shlucha Chaya Mushka Lazar a”h, eldest daughter of yblcht”a Rabbi Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia.

Since its inception, the gemach has helped hundreds of Rabbis and Shluchim throughout the former Soviet Union, as well as their community members with dozens of programs and the realization of many goals. Today it spearheads many more Chesed organizations in Russia, particularly in Moscow, through the Shaarei Tzedek Jewish Chesed Center.

This year the impressive event was held in the newly renovated Mariott Hotel situated in the “Three Railways” neighborhood – a famous avenue that boasts three train stations leading to three large cities in Russia.

Hundreds of friends, donors and supporters, along with Chassidic philanthropist, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia, Reb Levi Levayov, sat down to an elegant meal which began with a heartfelt havdala ceremony led by mechanech Rabbi Avraham Elimelech Gedzh. He was accompanied by the sweet voices of the Cheder Menachem Choir under the dedicated leadership of mechanech Rabbi Menachem Mendel Markowitz.

After washing and sitting down to seudas melava malka, Rabbi Yaakov HaLevi Klein, Shliach to the Arbat Chabad House, was honored with reading a letter of greetings from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Philanthropist Reb Yehuda Davidov was honored with reading the letter’s translation into Russian. 

In what has become an annual tradition, the keynote address was delivered by Russia’s Chief Rabbi who spoke about the gematria of 22 – “Becha yevarech Yisroel”- gathering for the 22nd time with the goal of raising funds for tzedakah, in order to help others – which will surely bring only blessings for the entire Jewish nation. He reminisced about the fund’s modest beginnings, and how it has prospered and grown immeasurably thanks to the dedicated gabbaim who are always finding new ways to grow and expand, to help yet another Jew. 

Greetings were also brought by the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia Rabbi Alexander Boroda, as well as the directors of the “Solomon Charity” Mr. Oz Goltzman and Mr. Dan Gurevitch. Beautiful plaques were presented to all those who supported the fund during the past year. Head Shliach to the city of Sochi, Rabbi Sholom Lazar was honored with bentching, and on this positive and inspiring note, the crowds dispersed to their homes late at night. 

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