Yaakov Dov Bleich (born 19 October 1964) is an American-born rabbi. He has been widely recognized as Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and all of Ukraine since 1990 and has served as vice-president of the World Jewish Congress since 2009. Rabbi Bleich is a Vice President of the Conference of European Rabbis and is an active member of the Executive Committee.
He graduated from Telshe Yeshiva High School in Chicago, Illinois where he began his rabbinical studies. From 1984-1986, he studied at the Karlin Stolin Rabbinical Institute in Jerusalem, and received his Rabbinical ordination (semicha) at Yeshiva Karlin Stolin in Brooklyn.
In 1990, Bleich was appointed by the Jewish Communities as Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine. Since his arrival in Ukraine, Bleich has been instrumental in founding the Kyiv Jewish City Community, the Union Of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine, the first Jewish day school in Ukraine, the first Jewish orphanage and boarding school in Ukraine, the Chesed Avot welfare society of Kyiv, the Magen Avot social services network of Ukraine, and a host of other organizations.
In 2005 he was one of three contenders for the role of chief rabbi, alongside Chabad Lubavitch appointees Azriel Chaikin (appointed 2002) and Moshe Reuven Azman (appointed 2005). There is also a Progressive (Liberal/Reform) Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine, Alexander Dukhovny. But Rabbi Yaakov Bleich has always been recognized by the government as Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine. As such Rabbi Bleich is a co founder and leader of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations.
In 2008, Kievan weekly magazine Focus named Bleich among the most "powerful foreigners" in the country.
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