Alexandr Dubinsky (Александр Дубинский) is a blogger/muckraker in Kiev with 119,000 followers on FaceBook and a popular website focused on corruption in Ukraine. Chief Rabbi of the Ukraine, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich fell into the glare of some unwanted publicity because of his connection to one of Dubinsky’s targets.
On Monday (5/6/19) Dubinsky posted an attack on oligarch and politician Boris Lozhkin (Борис Ложкин). He wrote:
As you know, last year the former head of the presidential administration [of defeated incumbent, Poroshenko], Boris Lozhkin , decided to gain a foothold among Orthodox Jews, and became chief of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine https://jcu.org.ua/management where he got to the center of an international sex scandal.
The head rabbi of Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich, who turned out to be a sexual molester, became the curator and spiritual mentor of Lozhkin in the EKU.
In connection with these suspicions, the mention of Bleich was removed from the website of the Conference of European Rabbis, where he was a member of the presidium, the executive and the permanent committees.
Now they are joking in the synagogue – having decided to become a Jew, Lozhkin immediately fell into … the hands of a pedophile. (translated from the original Russian)
Something is brewing with the status of the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, 55-year-old Yaakov Dov Bleich. Just this past Friday (3-29-19) he was a prominent figure in the Council of European Rabbis (CER) listed on their website as a member of their 6 member Executive Council, 12 member Presidium, and their 47 member Standing Committee.
Not any more. He is off of those bodies with no announcements and no replacements as of Sunday, March 31, 2019. In fact his name is nowhere to be found on their website. All those 3 committees are now down one rabbi. Bleich is a man who happily accumulates titles so I can’t imagine he removed himself. Which means the CER probably removed or suspended him.
While some might say he was expelled there is no precedent for the CER to take such action. As a confederation they have till now always deferred to the decisions of the national communities to make such decisions. Only after a national group removes a rabbi do they then expel him as well from the CER. But on the other hand, how does one remove a chief rabbi who answers to nobody within his national community. I imagine that is a sticky issue for the CER and one that would require some significant process which we are likely in the middle of.
I believe it is related to allegations of sexual abuse of the sort I described in “When Kiruv Gets Too Close and Turns into Abuse” (2/27/19). Continue reading