9. Kyiv: 3-Hour Jewish Community Tour
Visit Lvivska Square in upper Kyiv, the site of the Jewish Gate and learn about Jewish life in medieval Kyiv. Follow the way from Lukyanovka to Baby Yar Ravine. Visit a bronze monument to victims of the Holocaust. This monument was built in 1976 just after President Nixon’s (37th President of the US) visited Baby Yar. The Soviet-era monument at Baby Yar is comprised of 11 sculptures two of which are especially moving. One depicts a mother with her baby at her breast while her hands are tied, symbolizing Ukraine being enslaved by the Nazis and the other a granddaughter mourning over her dead grandfather. Other monuments at Baby Yar are more recently such as Menorah (1991) and a children’s monument (2001). The bronze Menorah depicts Abraham, Isaak and a human procession. Its inauguration ceremony was attended by President Bush’s brother in 1991. The children’s monument was built to remember the 15,000 children and babies killed by the Nazis at Baby Yar during WWII.
Next visit Podil (lower Kyiv) where Jews lived in the olden days and its synagogues from the late 19th century. The aristocratic Lipki area has a few lovely mansions built by wealthy Jews just next to the tsar’s palace. Now, these mansions are used mostly by Ukrainian authorities. Finally, visit Choral Brodsky Synagogue (1898) and the adjacent area. Golda Meir and Sholom Aleichem once lived here. Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labor and Foreign Minister. Visit Solom Aleichem Museum to learn about his Ukrainian birthplace in Pereyaslav and members of his family.
Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, better known under his pen name Sholem Aleichem (March 2 [O.S. February 18] 1859 – May 13, 1916), was a leading Yiddish author and playwright. See the Golda Meir memorial plague and the Solom Aleichem statue. Also, visit the Bessarabsky roofed market (1911) built by Brodsku’s money. To see objects of Jewish worship such as silver, Torah crowns, shields, pointers, etc. (18th to 19th centuries ) visit the Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine.