Kiruv Seminar in Kiev
by Yated Ne'eman Staff
The first-ever seminar for teachers of secular studies took
place in Puscha Voditza, a suburb of Kiev, Ukraine, last
week. The four-day seminar attracted more than fifty
participants, representing Jewish schools throughout the
country. The purpose of the conference was to give an
opportunity for these Jewish teachers to get a flavor of
Yiddishkeit. For many of the participants, it was the
first time that they had experienced a real Shabbos
atmosphere, and they responded enthusiastically.
A special guest for Shabbos was Rabbi Y. D. Bleich, the Chief
Rabbi of the Ukraine. In a stimulating address, replete with
many anecdotes, he showed how the Shabbos experience can
uplift a person.
During the course of the seminar, the main lecturers were Dr.
Sholom Springer and Rabbi Meir Roberg. Dr. Springer, a noted
speaker at SEED seminars, gave stimulating addresses each day
on a variety of topics, including "Science and Judaism," "The
Survival of the Jewish People," "Encounter at Mt. Sinai,"
"The Uniqueness of the Hebrew Language," and "Judaism in the
Rabbi Roberg, who organized the educational program, gave the
keynote address on the role of the successful
mechanech. He also gave a number of thought-provoking
lectures on educational topics relevant to the needs of the
participants. On Shabbos he gave a shiur on
kashrus, showing the many side-benefits it will bring
to those who observe it. Mrs. Roberg gave an inspiring talk
to the ladies after kabolas Shabbos, explaining the
role of the Jewish woman.
In the evenings, there were "Question and Answer" sessions in
which Rabbi Bleich, Rabbi Roberg, Dr. Springer and Professor
Pieski (a noted biologist and head of the Jewish school in
At the closing session on Sunday afternoon, many of the
teachers volunteered to speak about how much the seminar had
meant to them personally in terms of their
Yiddishkeit. A follow-up seminar is already being
planned for the summer.
The practical organization for the event was undertaken by
Mr. Tuvia (Anatoly) Shengait, Executive Director of Jewish
Organizations in the Ukraine. Tuvia himself spent some time
learning Torah in Yeshivas Shavei Gola in Jerusalem some
years ago. There he was strongly influenced by Rabbi A.
Feuerstein, zt"l, who imbued him with the desire to
become a marbitz Torah in the Ukraine.