Explosion in Crimea Kills Dozens

A massive explosion Dec. 24 in the Ukrainian Black Sea resort town of Yevpatoria blew up a five-story apartment building, burying dozens in the rubble. Dmitry and Irina Chausovsky, Jews from Yevpatoria, died in the blast.

“The Jewish couple was not affiliated with the town’s Jewish community and organizations, but we proposed to their relatives to bury them according to Jewish tradition,” Margarita Sviridova, head of the Hesed department in Yevpatoria, told JTA. The Reform Jewish congregation in Yevpatoria, Delet Ptuah, has about 90 members, according to Raisa Shapovalova, leader of the Reform community.

“Today we shall pray for all victims of the tragedy in our synagogue,” Shapovalova told JTA on Dec. 25. Some people were still unaccounted for, Ukraine’s Emergencies Ministry spokesman said, even after more than 20 residents were pulled out alive from the five-story building.

The cause of the accident may have been oxygen tanks stored in the basement. The Ukrainian Jewish Committee expressed condolences over the blast to the residents of the town, the Jewish community and all the relatives and loved ones of those who died.

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