Today, the President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, met with Rabbi Zushe Abelsky, Director of the Jewish community in the country. Today marks the 119th anniversary of the outbreak of the infamous Kishinev Pogrom, in which 68 Jews were massacred. Thousands were left homeless, with property damaged measured in millions of rubles. Over a century later, the Moldovan president is found thanking Rabbi Abelsky for his efforts to absorb thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing Ukraine, as well as for the construction of five refugee resorts. These resorts are not only housing the refugees, but taking care of all their shortages as well.
At the opening of the meeting, in which the Assistant President for Minority Affairs and the President’s Chief of Staff were present, the Moldovan President acknowledged the Rabbi’s father, the late Rabbi Zalman Abelsky. As the first Moldovan Chief Rabbi, Abelsky was remembered by the efforts he made when communism fell some 32 years ago, and the undeniable success shown by the present day Jewish community all these years later.
Sandu was happy to hear about the Jewish community’s extensive activities taking place around the clock. These activities include educational institutions for children, such as kindergartens and a Jewish school, the absorption of refugees, and the preparations for the upcoming Seder night. The Jewish community of Moldova can expect no less than five different events to take place on the night of the Seder. With the acknowledgement of these various activities, the president continued to state “that Kishinev has become a place where Jews who are disturbed and made to flee have a place where they see a home that protects them, without experiencing persecution and anti-Semitic incidents.”
She was also happy to hear about the work of Rabbi Abelsky’s brother, Rabbi Yosef Abelsky, who was appointed by all the Jewish communities in Moldova to serve as the Chief Rabbi after the passing of his father. Today, there are six families of Chabad emissaries in Moldova, and an extensive team of 75 employees in the various institutions and organizations that they operate.
The Moldovan presidency itself posted an excited message on the official Facebook page that read, among other things: “Discussions commemorated the victims of the Jewish pogrom that erupted 119 years ago in Chisinau, but also the victims of the war Russia is waging in Ukraine.”
President Maya Sando mentioned that one of her priorities is to build a “united and harmonious society in Moldova, where everyone feels safe and knows that their civil and individual rights are respected.” She thanked the Jewish community for the humanitarian aid granted by the State of Israel through the Jewish community in the Republic of Moldova.
“Rabbi Abelsky, for his part, praised the involvement of the citizens of Moldova in helping the refugees, and the generosity shown by the people,” the presidential office released in a statement.