The Ohel 

In 1837 a highly-respected Hassidic rabbi from Chernobyl fell deathly ill as he was traveling on religious business.   Rabbi Mordecai Twersky, was passing through Ignatovka when he became unable to go much further.   He chose to die and be buried in Ignatovka. 

His father R. Menachem Nachum Twersky was the second rebbe of the Chernobyl Hassidic dynasty, and was one of the 3 original rabbis responsible for the organized spread of Hassidism into the rest of Europe in the early years of the 19th Century.  Mordecai Twersky, known as the Chernobyler Maggid, was a published author and was held in high regard within the ranks of Hassidic leaders.   Among his responsibilities, R. Twersky was responsible for the collection of large amounts of funds for charity.   To the extent that there were no churches nearby in the village, the site would be an ideal burial site for the rabbi, as “…the sound of impure bells won’t disturb my rest in the grave,” according to tradition. 

The shrine built to his memory, and known as an ohel, is found at the edge of what was the old Jewish quarter of the village,  overlooking the nearby river and cultivated fields.  It is located south of the main highway, adjacent the refugee center.  The ohel is said to have been not far from the exit gate of the former Jewish cemetery (See photo). 

This is one of several shrines in this part of Ukraine, venerated and maintained by present-day Hassidim [1].   The original shrine was, according to tradition, seriously damaged by German military units during WW2.  A mayor of the town Vinnitsa underwrote the cost of rebuilding the shrine in 2000 [2].   


[1]   Tzadikim Graves in Ukraine,  http://jewua.org/tzadikim-graves-in-ukraine/
[2]   Personal correspondence.

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