State-of-the-Art Facility for Jewish Tots in Dnepropetrovsk


by Baila Olidort - DNEPROPETROVSK, UKRAINE

December 10, 2003

Hundreds turned out this week to celebrate at an auspicious ribbon-cutting ceremony and the opening of a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility—another first for Dnepropetrovsk’s Jewish community, another achievement in the annals of Chabad-Lubavitch in this region.

Situated on a quiet section of Kirova Street—a main artery of Dnepropetrosk, the new, 1700 square meter facility was designed to meet the educational needs of a very young, but highly significant population: Jewish children. Until now, the children were dispersed among a number of preschool facilities throughout the city, explains Dnepropetrovsk’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzki. Now, with a 250-child capacity, they are all under one roof, thriving in an ideal environment.

Among those attending the ceremony were government officials, municipal leaders, and leaders of various regional Jewish communities. The mezuzah of the new facility was posted by Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi Ezriel Chaikin.

Named Beit Zindlich for the parents of Mr. Victor Pinchok, a friend of Chabad and respected philanthropist, the new facility, which serves five distinct age groups and was designed with every consideration for the needs of these children, is part of the Ohr Avner network of educational institutions in the region.

For the parents of the 200 tots who attend Chabad preschools in this Ukrainian metropolis, the sense of pride and privilege was uncontained. Guests were especially impressed by the educational standard reflected in content-rich themes of the song and dance performance by the children. An Israeli child addressed the guests in Ukrainian, and a Ukrainian child read Hebrew poetry.

According to Rabbi Kaminetzki, when the demand for a comfortable, thoughtfully designed facility large enough for all the children became a priority, he began the arduous task of raising funds for this project.

Rabbi Kaminetzki expected it would be an uphill climb all the way, but when he received an unexpected phone call from his good friend, Mr. Pinchok, wanting to make a gesture of gratitude for a miracle he experienced in his personal life, Rabbi Kaminetzki mentioned the preschool. No sooner said, and the project was launched. Mr. Pinchok dedicated the facility in honor of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Zindlich, who were visibly moved by the honor bestowed upon them. The Zindlichs lit a candle with each of the children at the ceremony, symbolic of the light that will emanate from this center of Jewish education.

Chabad places a premium on Jewish education in early childhood. The new facility in the center of town, makes a bold statement to this effect. At the end of the ceremony, guests were treated to a full tour of the stunning facility. “But,” observes Rabbi Kaminetzki, “the physical structure of the building is only a reflection of the quality of education and spiritual nurturing they receive by our outstanding faculty—-most of whom were trained in Chabad schools—-who imbue these children with a deep love for Jewish values and a commitment to a truly Jewish way of life.”

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