Toldos Moshe Dov is keeping the flame of Torah and Yiddishkeit burning the hearts of Russian Jews living in Asheklon and is vital to the spiritual life and survival of the city’s Russian baalei teshuvah.

The History

Close to a century ago, Judaism thrived in Russia and the Ukraine. Yet when the tempests of Communism and Nazi terror swept through the country, decimating hundreds of Jewish towns and villages, thousands of Jewish souls were lost to their heritage. For nearly three generations, Soviet Jews were brutally cut off from tradition. With the fall of the Iron Curtain and opening of the sealed USSR borders, close to one million Jews emigrated from the USSR and made their way to Israel. Tens of thousands of the new arrivals settled in neighborhoods in coastal Ashkelon. Following decades of spiritual starvation, the vast majority were completely non-observant, lacking fundamental principles and knowledge of their glorious heritage. Shabbos, kashrus, Yomim Tovim and even bris milah were foreign concepts, and intermarriage was, tragically, a routine occurrence.

The Solution

Toldos Moshe Dov was founded in 5765/2006 by Harav Nochum Pavlov, shlit”a, and his Rebbetzin, tichyeh with the goal of leading Russian Jews in Ashkelon back to Torah life. Throughout fifteen years blessed with siyata diShmaya, they’ve built a beautiful, close-knit community of 30 Russian baalei teshuvah families who embrace Torah Judaism. Leading the community with unparalleled dedication, love and commitment to each and every individual, Rav and Rebbetzin are the father and mother of the community. Under their tender, devoted guidance, the community is gradually evolving with families now fully observant and others growing steadily closer to Torah. The Mosdos avaiils a shul, study programs and community activities for men, women and children, couples and singles, of all ages and walks of life. Throughout a decade and a half, dozens of adults and children have been circumcised, many have undertaken the observance of Shabbos, kashrus, and other mitzvos, and couples (some of whom were civilly married for decades, are wed according to Jewish tradition, perpetuating the sacred chain of their ancestors in creating new beautiful Jewish generations. Baruch Hashem, many Russian Jews, young and old have returned to their faith; and still others are in the process of traversing the same path of teshuvah, but much work still remains to be done.

Message from the Rav

Baruch Hashem we’ve seen tremendous siyata diShmaya success in building a Torah community in the desert of Ashkelon. Our kollel is made up of Yeshiva students who learn b’iyun, and many of the Russian olim who have joined are well on their way to becoming real talmidei chachamim, B”H. But Orei Chaim is not just a morning and evening kollel. And it isn’t just a shul. It isn’t even just a Community Center servicing the Jewish community of Ashkelon. Our purpose is to continue building up the Ashkelon community even more. By attending our various programs, many more Russian residents are becoming baalei teshuva. Concurrently, we are continuing to strengthen those Jews who have already returned to a Torah life-style with our evening kollel and the twice-weekly Torah classes that are open to the entire community. Growing and developing in Torah learning, and becoming ever-stronger G-d fearing Jews, Orei Chaim is making the desert bloom. Our success is thanks to you and the generous hearts of the many people who contribute to all that we are doing here. Please join us in our vital endeavors. In the zchus hatorah may you be zoche to bone chaye umezonei and hatzlacha in all your endeavors.

Help us continue making this all happen.

Join us in leading Jews in Ashkelon back to their source!