• CGI Kharkov Finishes 30th Summer

    On 9 Elul 5750, the summer of 1990, Rabbi Moishe and Miriam Moskovitz, together with their young son Mendel arrived to Kharkov, then a city in the Soviet Union. The next year was the inaugural summer of Gan Yisroel – Kharkov. After three amazing decades of dedicated work, CGI – Kharkov completed its 30th summer • Full Story, Photos

    On 9 Elul 5750, the summer of 1990, Rabbi Moishe and Miriam Moskovitz, together with their young son Mendel arrived to Kharkov, then a city in the Soviet Union.

    A year later 80 students joined their inaugural summer camp program. During that camp, the winds of trouble were brewing in Moscow and tanks on the streets signaled a dangerous coup and the possible return of Communism. Shluchim asked the Rebbe for guidance and the Rebbe clearly said that he was surprised at the question. Despite the community encouraging the shluchim to leave while they could, the shluchim stayed and the seminar continued. From that camp many of the students returned to their roots.

    Seven years later, in the summer of 1998 a grandmother walked to the shul on Pushkinskaya Street to get a book from the library and ends up signing up her grandson, Yasha for camp. By the end of the Summer, Yasha had a bris and became Yaakov.

    Rabbi Yaakov Yakimenko, the boy who got his bris after camp that year, became the director of Camp Gan Yisroel Kharkov.

    This year, his son Mendel celebrated his bar mitzvah on 9 Elul (exactly 31 years since the Moskovitz’s arrived in Kharkov!) and 30 years since the first camp in Kharkov! It was very special that his father chose to celebrate his bar mitzvah in camp where he first encountered Yiddishkeit.

    Year by year Gan Yisroel Kharkov has had thousands of campers and hundreds of counselors who experienced literally the summer of their lifetime.

    One month of day camp in the city and a month of overnight camp in the community’s campsite was a real excitement for all of the campers and their parents after a year of lockdowns and zoom online classes.

    This year, the head counselors and most of the counselors were shluchim and shluchos from Kharkov!

    A few days after camp began, Nikita‘s mother walked into shulfor the first time. After an hour in shule, she signed up a daughter to kindergarten, another daughter to the Jewish school and arranged for her 13 year old son Nikita to join camp the next day! Nikita came to shul on Thursday to join the camp trip- his first time ever in shul! He had a bar mitzva- put on Tefillin and got an aliya for the first time in his life!

    Anya (now Chana) from the orphanage sang on Shabbos as loud as she could in Russian,”I’m a Jew and I’m proud!”

    And each camper has his story and his special memories…

    This summer capped 30 years of miracles and life changing experiences for thousands of campers!



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