SADIGORA, Ukraine – The city of Sadigora, located in Ukraine's Chernovtsy Region, hosted a ceremony to mark the rebirth of the International Chassidic Center. For over two hundred years, this settlement was known as one of the world centers of Chassidism. There lies the grave of a Tzadik, Rabbi Isroel Fridman
, also known as the 'Great Rabbi' and 'Miracle-Working Rabbi', having healed many people in what was considered to be the most hopeless cases. It is said that 200 years ago, Sadigora blossomed thanks to this man. People used to gather to hear the rabbi's wise words. Today, twice a year, Chassidim from across the world come to Sadigora to pray at the grave of Rabbi Isroel Fridman.
In 1842, Rabbi Fridman provided funding for the construction of a magnificent complex, including a Synagogue. The foundation of this structure was built on earth, brought from Jerusalem. In the 1940s, when all religious organizations were shut down by Soviet authorities, the residence of Rabbi Fridman was also closed and converted into an agricultural machine plant. The building was also significantly altered due to construction of several factory shops adjacent to it.
It is a wonder that the Synagogue survived. Its ceiling had collapsed and was never repaired since the government had no funding. Entering this unique building, which was once covered with copper, only required squeezing through a hole in a fence, since the building was generally unprotected.
The number of Chassidim from Sadigora in other cities grew over the years, first appearing in other Ukrainian cities such as Boyan, Chertkov and Chernovtsy. Then, with the out-migration of many Ukrainian Jews during the two world wars and during the Soviet period, Sadigora Chassidic Centers began to emerge in Israel, the USA, Canada, Great Britain, and other countries.
Hope for reviving this remarkable Chassidic center emerged as soon as the building was rented by the sons and grandsons of Rabbi Fridman. The numerous legal and organizational problems that emerged in re-establishing the Chassidic Center were resolved with the assistance of one of Rabbi Fridman's descendants and the Chief Rabbi of Zhitomir and Chabad Lubavitch representative of Central and West Ukraine, Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm – and through the support of local authorities.
Last Saturday, on the Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Isroel Fridman, more than 300 Chassidim from throughout the world, as well as businessmen and lay leaders from local Jewish communities attended the ceremony for the re-opening of this International Chassidic Center. Guests of this event also enjoyed a performance from the Boy's Ensemble of the Ohr Avner Chabad Day School in Zhitomir, who were also excited to be part of this historical occasion.