Yaakov Bleich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Yaakov Dov Bleich

Yaakov Dov Bleich (born October 19, 1964) is an American-born rabbi. He is the chief rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine.[1] and serves as vice-president of the World Jewish Congress since 2009.[2]


Bleich graduated from Telshe Yeshiva High School in Chicago, Illinois where he began his rabbinical studies. From 1984 to 1986, he studied at the Karlin Stolin Rabbinical Institute in Jerusalem.

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).[3] 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.[4] In the same year, he was expelled from his own community,[5] but continues to publicly refer to himself as the chief rabbi as impostor.[6] 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.[7]

In 2019, Bleich, together with Sviatoslav Shevchuk and Epiphanius I of Ukraine, held a prayer service for members of the OUN in the Jewish cemetery of Sambir.[8][9][10]