The head rabbi of Ukraine, Moshe Asman, will have custody of a Jewish soldier who was captured in Ukraine.
Sergei H., a 31-year-old St. Petersburg resident, was conscripted during Putin’s most recent call-up of reserves in September.
Sergei had no prior military experience or training and was deployed as a private to the front in Ukraine. He was captured in the freshly recaptured Liman region.
Local news sources claim that the Ukrainian attack virtually destroyed Sergei’s company, and the commander retreated to the Lugansk region.
Sergei was questioned by Ukrainian police, who then got in touch with his sister Esther, who lives in an observant Jewish neighborhood close to Jerusalem.
She received assurances about his well-being and health during his detention.
A few weeks after the conflict started in April 2022, Esther emigrated from Russia.
Her grandmother, a Jew, survived the siege of Stalingrad, and their Jewish grandfather took part in the assaults on Stalingrad in 1943.
Esther urged Rabbi Moshe Asman, the head rabbi of Ukraine, to intervene on her brother’s behalf. In an urgent conference with senior commanders on the eve of Sukkos, the rabbi reportedly requested to be given control of the Jewish prisoner and any further Jews who could be kidnapped.
He was permitted by the Ukrainian army to take ownership of Jewish prisoners.
In a video addressed to Russian Jews, Rabbi Asman also advised them how to avoid military service and take part in Russian war crimes against Ukraine.
He demanded that individuals who were being forced into recruitment turn themselves up and receive his protection.
On Chol Hamoed, Rabbi Asman hoped to run into Sergei.
He declared, “I know he is the first confirmed Jew taken into captivity.”
Despite the fact that there were thousands of Russian prisoners, he was the first to have documentation of his Jewish heritage and family in Israel.
He never attended a Jewish school, but his sister attended one in St. Petersburg, where she converted to Judaism and currently resides in a synagogue not far from Jerusalem.
It was pretty challenging to speak with his sister because she was going through a personal crisis and needed help immediately.