Report: Rebbe Noson’s Kloiz (Synagogue) Restored to the Chassidim

According to a report in the Kyiv Post, ownership of the synagogue Rebbe Noson built called the “kloiz” has finally been restored to the Breslover Chassidim. Here is the original article:

Hasids who come to Uman, Cherkasy region of Ukraine, to visit the grave of their spiritual leader Tsadik Nahman every year can now use the building of a former synagogue, Serhiy Tulub, the head of the Cherkasy region’s administration, said.

“The Hasidic religious community has full rights to use the building of the former synagogue in which Tsadik Nahman used as a prayer house,” Tulub was quoted by the Cherkasy region’s administration as saying.

The land site, which has an area of four hectares, is located in Uman, 49 Radianska Street, where the instrument-making plant Megommetr has been located since 1957.

On Dec. 22, 2011, the Cherkasy region’s Economic Court invalidated the sale by the city council of the four-hectare land site with the building of the former synagogue on it to the plant, granting a lawsuit filed by the local culture department.

The court also ordered the enterprise to return the land site to the city and the state council to return the money paid for the land site to the enterprise.

Every fall, pilgrims go to Uman to visit the grave of Rabi Nahman. Their number is increasing now that the visa regime has been lifted between Ukraine and Israel.

A brief history about the movement to build the Kloiz and its eventual closure according to breslov.com:

 

5590 — A Movement to Build the Kloiz

“By 5590 it was just impossible to continue there,” writes Reb Noson. “We were very upset and were looking for a place to rent. God had something prepared for us. He sent us an individual whose new home was being finished. He wanted his new inaugurated by the holiness of the prayers kosher, God-fearing Jews. That is where we prayed.”

***
So it was, that Breslover Chassidim wandered from place to place to pray on Rosh Hashanah.

Finally, after all the setbacks and delays, a movement began to build a permanent Breslover Kloiz. As we quoted above, Reb Mendel of Ladizin said, “Reb Noson! If you don’t build a beit knesset for us Breslovers you won’t have done anything.”  Reb Noson replied, “If so, you be the first to contribute.” Reb Mordechai, poor as he was, ran home and quickly returned with his last two rubles. He was delighted to give them to Reb Noson.

Reb Noson, though, being quite aware of Reb Mordechai’s situation did not want to take the money. However, Reb Mordechai insisted and even begged Reb Noson not to take away this mitzvah from him until Reb Noson finally agreed. Later, when Reb Noson would go fundraising for the Kloiz he would tell those who were well off, “That poor man gave away everything he owned — shouldn’t you?!”

In later years Reb Noson would often say, “I’m not sure what built the Kloiz more, the money of the rich people or the longing of the poor…”

 

5592 — Laying the Foundation

In Cheshvan 5592 the foundation was laid for the Kloiz. The building took two years to complete. Often it was Reb Noson himself who supervised the work. In 5593 the kibutz met in the home of a Reb Zalman.

 

5594 — Homecoming

“In 5594 we were worthy of praying in our very own beit midrash. It is impossible to fully recount God’s miracles and wonders in relationship to this. It wouldn’t be believed.” Reb Noson notes further with clear joy that he was able to acquire a beautiful sefer Torah, and everything necessary for a proper beit knesset.

Facelifts.  For close to next hundred years the Kloiz was home to the Breslover Chassidim. In 5626 (1866) it was refurbished by Reb Sender of Trehvitza. In approximately 5663 (1903) it was totally renovated by Reb Isaac of Uman. Throughout this entire period the Breslovers warmed themselves by the light of Rebbe Nachman’s teaching. Until 5696 (1936).

 

5596 — The Kloiz is Closed

In 5696, after a long period of plotting against the Jews, and after the imposition of unduly heavy taxes levied upon them by the Communist government, the era of the Kloiz came to an end. The late Reb Levy Yitzchok Bender, who was in charge of the Kloiz at the time of its closing, pointed out that the Kloiz was the last beit knesset in the area to be shut down. It had become a repository for all the Torah scrolls of the regional synagogues.

After Reb Levy Yitzchok and the late Reb Elya Chaim Rosen were imprisoned the Kloiz was shut down. This is how the situation was described by Reb Aron Leib Tzigelman:
“We received letters from Uman — from Reb Avraham Sofer, from Reb Matisyahu, from Reb Neshka and from Reb Berel Cohen — that immediately after Rosh Hashanah the Communist newspapers were filled with a series of articles describing the Kloiz as a hotbed of anti-Soviet activity. Those wicked people have gone so far as to actually shut the Kloiz and the mikveh. Darkness covers the faces of our fellow Breslovers. The apple of our eye, our Rebbe’s beit knesset, and the holy mikveh, have been taken away from us. For over 120 years the Rebbe’s fire has burned. What will become of us now?”

Baruch HaShem – may HaShem continue to restore to the Jewish People and to every individual Jew all of our “lost items” and may we merit to see the return of the Jewish People to our homeland with coming of Mashiach – shortly and in our days, amen.

Author: Yossi Katz

Yossi Katz currently lives in Lakewood, NJ where he runs the BRI American Office. He studied in Beth Medrash Gevoha, as well as the former Breslov Kollel of Lakewood headed by Rabbi Shlomo Goldman.

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