The Chabad-Lubavitch Movement, which is considered the most dynamic force in Jewish life today, was established here in White Russia (Belarus). The town Lubavitch in White Russia was the center of the movement for over a century.
In our generation, The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, upon the beginning of his leadership of the Chabad Movement in the year 1950 began sending emissaries ("Shluchim") - usually young couples who are sent to live wherever there are concentrations of Jews in the world in order to disseminate the light of the Torah, the commandments and Judaism in general. The Rebbe regarded every Jew as a link in one complete chain - "the People of Israel" , and claimed that the Torah and the commandments are not the heritage of specific persons or of a specific group, but rather belong to every Jew wherever he is. As a true leader, and from a sense of love and caring for every Jew, the Rebbe set a goal: to reach every Jew in every remote corner all over the world, to empower him in his Judaism and to strengthen his faith.
The verse "…and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south" has become the Rebbe's slogan, and the commandment of "the love of Israel" has become the key motto in the work of his followers.
There are currently more than 4,600 Chabad emissaries worldwide.
The Rebbe, who left the Soviet Union in 1927, together with his father in law, Rabbi Rayatz of Lubavitch, who was exiled from Russia because of his activities in the dissemination of Judaism, maintained close ties with the Jews in Soviet Russia during all those years and encouraged and strengthened them. The Rabbi used many secret channels for this purpose, among them emissaries he sent to Russia under the guise of tourists and businessmen. The Rabbi's interest and involvement in the fate of Russian Jewry was deep and personal. Many times the Rabbi used to cry when he spoke of the sufferings of the Jews of Russia and their devotion to their faith.
With the fall of Communism, these activities became open and official, and currently hundreds of the Rabbi's emissaries are spread out in every city and community of the former Soviet Union, helping Jews to return to the tradition of their forefathers. Hundreds of Jewish communities, synagogues, community centers and Jewish schools have been established in the cities of the CIS.
Rabbi Yitzchak Kofman lives with his family in Grodno, Belarus, where he is serving as a Chabad emissary and the city's Rabbi.
The Jewish community in the city is a member of the Union of Jewish Communities of Belarus and of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS. Activities are enabled thanks to the assistance of the Or Avner Foundation.
We are working towards the revival of Jewish life in Grodno and extend a supportive hand to the Jews of the city with religious, cultural and social services.
The city of Grodno in Belarus (before World War II was a part of Poland, and before that was a part of Tzarist Russia, also known as Hrodna or Grodna) is a city that has a magnificent Jewish history that goes back hundreds of years. Jews lived there as early as the end of the 12th century and famous Rabbis whose books are studied to this day by Jews all over the world. The Jews of Grodno constituted a large percentage of the city's general population, and in certain periods even reached 85% (!) of the city's population. The city bustled with Jewish life, dozens of synagogues, community institutions and Jewish enterprises.
Tens of thousands of the Jews from the magnificent Jewish community of Grodno were exterminated during the Holocaust years, May Hashem Avenge Their Blood.
Energy does not get lost, it only changes form. We believe that the good deeds of the thousands of Grodno Jews which were done here during hundreds of years still "exist" here - on the spiritual level, and by their virtue, the virtue of the past, we are building the future.
We believe that Jewish activities here in Grodno can be a type of victory over the Anti-Semites who tried to destroy us, as well as a commemoration of the thousands of holy souls.
Above all, it is another proof that the People of Israel Live!