In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ukraine was the country with the largest Jewish population in the world, home to a quarter of all Jews. Hasidism originated here, the first written mention of Kyiv in the tenth century was made in Hebrew. Ukrainians and Jews share many centuries of common history, and 2020 added another page to it. The President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine Boris Lozhkin names the events in the Jerusalem Post that, in his opinion, were the most significant in 2020 for the Ukrainian Jewish community.
One of the main events of 2020, the President of the JCU called the continuation of the Righteous of my City initiative of the Confederation, aimed at preserving the memory of the Holocaust. As part of this project, the JCU continues to honor Ukrainians who risked their lives to save Jews, and renames streets, squares and parks in Ukrainian cities after the local Righteous citizens.
Signing the historic memorandum of understanding and cooperation between the Government of Ukraine and the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC) was also dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. As part of this agreement, a memorial synagogue will be built in Babyn Yar in 2021 and a center for studying the tragedy that happened during the Second World War will be opened.
“This is paramount not only to Ukraine but to the global Jewish community. It will become Ukraine’s first Holocaust memorial center,” Lozhkin wrote.
He also notes that in November, BYHMC and Yad Vashem together compiled the most complete list of victims of the shootings in Babyn Yar.
Another important event of the year, Lozhkin called the largest Jewish conference in the history of Ukraine – Kyiv Jewish Forum-2020. It was organized online and gathered an audience of over 83,000 worldwide.
Finally, Lozhkin notes, the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, in partnership with Tel Aviv University, has launched the Ukrainian Jewry Research Initiative: “Through the innovative lens of distinguishing the Ukrainian Jewish community from the perceived monolith of “Soviet Jewry,” the initiative will coordinate scholarship networks in Israel and abroad to encourage academic research on the history and culture of Ukrainian Jews.”
“The Ukrainian Jewish community stands strong and united in its efforts to promote peace and tolerance in Ukraine and worldwide, by restoring and remembering history,” Lozhkin concluded.
We will remind, it has been earlier reported that upon completion of the Kyiv Jewish Forum 2020 Boris Lozhkin announced holding the third forum.