Ukrainian rabbi says Kyiv Jews marked Shavuot while under Russian drone attack

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Rabbi Moshe Azman in Jerusalem, December 1, 2022 (Lazar Berman/The Times of Israel)
Rabbi Moshe Azman in Jerusalem, December 1, 2022 (Lazar Berman/The Times of Israel)

Jews in Kyiv celebrated the Shavuot holiday as Ukraine’s capital came under fire from Russian drones

Leading Ukraine Rabbi Moshe Azman tells The Times of Israel that at around 4 a.m., after the all-night learning program at the Brodsky Synagogue, the congregants heard explosions and headed down into the synagogue’s basement shelter.

Hundreds of Jews came to the synagogue over the holiday, which celebrates the Jews receiving the Torah. “We prayed, we learned, we ate,” says Azman.

But the Shavuot attack was nothing like what Kyiv experienced earlier this morning, as dozens of Russian drones were shot down over the city. “It was like Gog and Magog,” says the rabbi, referring to the biblical prophecy of a battle that precipitates the messianic era.

Before the holiday, Azman visited Jewish soldiers in hospitals, including one named Grigorii who lost both legs and an eye after stepping on a landmine near Bakhmut. “I went to strengthen him, and I was strengthened,” says Azman. “He promised he would find a way to continue to fight.”

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