Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine: "What Is Good for Ukraine Is Good for the Jews"

On Sunday, March 9, 2014, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine -- but a proud Brooklyn boy by birth -- appeared on the WABC talk radio program "Religion on the Line." Rabbi Bleich stated clearly that "What is good for Ukraine is good for the Jews; what is bad for Ukraine is bad for the Jews."

Rabbi Bleich took a strong stand against the Bieganski-style stereotyping that has been going on on WABC of late, as mentioned in previous blog posts. For example last week on this program, Rabbi Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center depicted Ukrainians as typical Bieganskis.

Alas, during this program, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, host of the show, made a joke. "Hey! I have good news! I've been made Chief Rabbi! But I have bad news. I have been made Chief Rabbi in Ukraine!"

Rabbi Bleich would have none of this. He said without qualification, "I love Ukraine." 

Rabbi Bleich acknowledges that there have been anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine during the current unrest. He said that it is not yet known who committed these acts, and whether or not they are provocations by the state. Rabbi Bleich also struggled to introduce historical context into the conversation. He mentioned how oppressive powers, from the Czars to Putin, exploited minorities like the Jews to divide and conquer, to stir up hatred of one oppressed minority group against the other. 

We applaud Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich and we wish him, Ukraine's Jews, and Ukraine all the best at this anxious time. 

Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich asked listeners to consider donating to a fund for protection of Jews and others in Ukraine. The charity is named Kiev Relief dot org and we encourage concerned parties to donate here.

You can read more about Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich here.


  1. It's good to hear this story of a leader positively speaking up against the Bieganski stereotype. Thank you for sharing this Danusha!

  2. Poland was "fasist" in 1939 so Russians invaded it. Ironically they did it with Nazis.
    Likewise Finland was a "fasist" country. Russians took a bite of that country too.
    Americans for decades were "imperialistic agressors", "racist opressors". Russians would gladly visit USA and "liberape" it's persecuted minorities (a lot of them to pick from). They didin't do it because all those american nukes pointed at them.
    Now Ukraine is full of "fasists". It's minorities are in danger. And good Russians just have to come and restore order. Notorious border transgressors.
    They are like school bully who's living in trailer home with alcoholic parents. His only consolation in his dreary life is to terrorize other children.

  3. Let us take Lukasz' comment further.

    The Russians are using the same "protect minorities" ploy that they always did before. During the Partitions, the Russians cited the "protection of minorities" as their excuse for annexing Polish land.

    During the 1939 German-Soviet conquest of Poland, they again used the "protecting minorities" excuse for invading and annexing the Kresy (eastern Poland).

    Now the Russians are using the "protect minorities" excuse for wanting the Crimea. When I heard this on the radio, I thought, "I heard this before. History is repeating itself."


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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