Belarus’ threat to confiscate a historic yeshiva may be averted after a U.S.-based committee pledged to raise funds for necessary repairs.
The ad hoc committee, comprised of Agudath Israel of
America, the American-Canadian Foundation for the Education and Welfare of Jews
of the CIS and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, conferred this
week with Yuri Dorn, president of the Union of Religious Jewish Congregations in
Belarus, about how to raise $20,000 for initial external
repairs to the vacant, 200-year-old Volozhin Yeshiva. Town authorities had insisted that renovations must begin this month or
the municipality – which had recently repatriated the building to the community – would take it back. “Today, we notified the authorities” in Volozhin of the formation of the
committee, Dorn told JTA on Friday. He expected the town to halt legal processes aimed at confiscating the building.
Full renovation is expected to cost more than $100,000. This would be undertaken later in the year if a plan for the building’s use can be developed by Belarus’ Jewish community together with international Jewish organizations.