Ukraine gets first Masorti rabbi

By Jamie Michaels, July 17, 2012

Rabbi Reuven Stamov, 38, has been appointed as the first Masorti rabbi in Ukraine at a ceremony in Kiev.

Rabbi Stamov, who grew up in Ukraine to a secular family before moving to Israel in 2003, returned to the country of his birth in March this year following his ordination at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary.

In his Soviet regime childhood, the future Rabbi Stamov was forbidden to practise any form of Judaism. It was not until he was 18 that he became involved in Midreshet Yerushalayim, a division of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies.

His move to live in Israel in 2003 was combined with summer visits back to his native country, during which he promoted Masorti traditions to the estimated 100,000 Jews that currently live in Ukraine.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of Masorti communities from Kiev, Simferopol (Rabbi Stamov's birthplace), Kharkov and Donetsk, in addition to public figures from the Jewish community in Kiev.

Rabbi Stamov will be based in Kiev, in charge of assisting the estimated 10,000 Masorti Jews in Ukraine.

Last updated: 1:59pm, July 17 2012