KONOTOP Jews Past and Present


The initiators of this unification deserve to be mentioned here. First of all they were old persons: Mikhail Fedorovich Kerelikh, Semen Mikhailovich Peisakhovich, Alexander Ilich Pundik, David Naunovich Plaper. Elected to the first governing board of the community named, “Lebn,” were Arkadiy Sorin (religious affairs), Viacheslav Karpachevskiy (youth affairs), and Mark Karlin (general affairs), vice-chairman of this council were Gregoriy Petrushenko. Gregory Aizenshtat was elected as chairman of the board. It is necessary to mention one more name, Leonid Volovik. He used to be the chairman of the board of the Jewish Community of Orla, a former inhabitant of Konotop, who shared his experience, which was very useful for us in our work.

It is a pity that life gave its own order and many of them are no longer with us in Konotop. The Kelerekh family moved to the USA, the Pesakhovich family went to Australia, Plapers moved to Russia, and the Sorins, Karlins and Karpachevski families moved to Israel, where five hundred Jews from Konotop are still living. But even from abroad all those people continue to be interested in the life of Jews here in Konotop. They write letters, call us, and visit and help us. They help us as much possible as they can. Each year new active people were involved, who helped to revive the Jewish life in the town. Among them, the first chairman of the Jewish religious community, Robert Semenovich Agranovskiy. He was one of the initiators to immortalize the memory of the Konotopian victims of the Holocaust, first Hebrew teacher in Konotop's ulpan.35 After his immigration to Israel, Arkadiy Veniaminovich Koniavskiy became the president of the Jewish community. He took the responsibility to put the cemetery in order, which he successfully accomplished. Nowadays he combines the community's principle responsibilities with the work for coordination of the social programs in the community center “Ester.”

Emilia Azenshtat brings to people the knowledge of Jewish traditions and history. Esfir Rozenfeld was a teacher of the Yiddish class where members of the class try to revive their knowledge of our forgotten language.

35 Ulpan Akiva is a non-profit educational center, where modern Hebrew is taught is

taught to new immigrants.



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