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.
In 2018, Kievan weekly magazine Focus named Bleich among the most "powerful foreigners" in the country. In the same year, he was expelled from his own community, but continues to publicly refer to himself as the chief rabbi as impostor. Subsequently, in spite of the announced Herem, he returned to the synagogue; according to Israel journalist Shimon Briman, everything that happens is a struggle for influence between Jewish leaders.
- biography – Hillel Levinson
- Rabbi Yaakov Bleich, Vice-President – World Jewish Congress website
- Ukrainian community split over chief rabbi, Vladimir Matveyev, Phoenix Jewish News, October 25, 2005
- Breaking News – JTA, Jewish & Israel News
- https://kresy.pl/wydarzenia/sambor-uroczyste-odsloniecie-krzyza-ku-czci-oun-upa-poswieconego-przez-abpa-szewczuka-z-udzialem-zwierzchnika-ukrainskiej-cerkwi-video-foto/ (in Polish)
- In Sambir, abuse was replaced by abuse — a monument to the heroes of the OUN-UPA was opened in the cemetery with the graves of the Jews they killed (in Russian)
- https://nk.org.ua/ukraina/palachi-i-jertvyi-vo-lvovskoy-oblasti-osvyatili-pamyatnik-oun-upa-ustanovlennyiy-na-evreyskom-kladbische-202907 (in Russian)
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