Yaakov Bleich

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Yaakov Dov Bleich
Born (1964-10-19) October 19, 1964 (age 59)[1]
DenominationHasidic Judaism
Alma materTelshe Yeshiva (Chicago)
SynagogueGreat Choral Synagogue
PositionChief Rabbi of Podil synagogue
OrganisationUnion of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine[2]
ResidenceMonsey, New York

Yaakov Dov Bleich (born October 19, 1964) is an American-born rabbi. He serves as Rabbi of the Kyiv synagogue in Podil since 1989. Rabbi Bleich was vice-president of the World Jewish Congress from 2009-2017.[3] Bleich chose not to run for re-election as a member of the WJC Executive Committee at the WJC’s May 2021 plenary assembly.[4]


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

In November 2014, Bleich strongly criticized Minister of the Interior Arsen Avakov for appointing Vadym Troyan, a former Azov Battalion commander, to the post of police chief of the Kyiv Oblast. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Bleich stated that “if the interior minister continues to appoint people of questionable repute and ideologies tainted with fascism and right-wing extremism, the interior minister should be replaced”.[5]

In 2018, he was expelled from his own community,[6] but continued to publicly call himself chief rabbi; another Jewish leader of Ukraine, Michael Tkach, accused Bleich of impostor.[7] Subsequently, despite the announced herem, he returned to the synagogue; according to Israeli journalist Shimon Briman, everything that is happening is a struggle for influence between Jewish leaders.[8]

In 2019, Bleich, together with Sviatoslav Shevchuk (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) and Epiphanius I of Ukraine (Orthodox Church of Ukraine), held a prayer service for members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in the Jewish cemetery of Sambir.[9][10][11]

On February 27, 2022, Bleich told Arutz Sheva: "President Zelensky called my community a few hours ago, while waging war, and asked the Jewish people should pray for Ukraine. 'The Russians have more soldiers than us, but our soldiers have more determination than the Russians. We need your prayers for us to succeed, the Ukrainian president said."[12]

In May 2022, the Board of Deputies of British Jews decided to break with the European Jewish Congress following the latter's reaction to allegations of sexual misconduct by Rabbi Yaakov Bleich. [13]

Supports the law banning the activities of the UOC (MP) in Ukraine.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich". European Jewish Fund. Archived from the original on March 3, 2022. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  2. ^ "Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine". vrciro.org.ua. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  3. ^ "World Jewish Congress".
  4. ^ "U.K. Jewish Group Cuts Ties to European Jewish Congress over Claims Against Top Rabbi". Haaretz.
  5. ^ Sokol, Sam (November 12, 2014). "Kiev regional police head accused of neo-Nazi ties". The Jerusalem Post.
  6. ^ "שליח האדמו"ר במכתב סוער: מתנערים מהרב יעקב בלייך — כיכר השבת". September 7, 2018. Archived from the original on October 3, 2019. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  7. ^ "Отсутствие Зеленского на мероприятиях в Бабьем Яру прокомментировал Михаэль Ткач — Jewish News". Archived from the original on October 3, 2019. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 3, 2019. Retrieved October 2, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ 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)
  11. ^ https://nk.org.ua/ukraina/palachi-i-jertvyi-vo-lvovskoy-oblasti-osvyatili-pamyatnik-oun-upa-ustanovlennyiy-na-evreyskom-kladbische-202907 Archived August 23, 2019, at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  12. ^ "Ukraine Rabbi: President Zelensky asked us to pray for Ukraine". Israel National News. February 27, 2022. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  13. ^ Cnaan Liphshiz, Leading Ukraine rabbi denies sexual misconduct allegations, timesofisrael.com, Israel, 15 June 2022
  14. ^ "У США лобіюють інтереси УПЦ. Що відбувається та як це впливає на Україну".