The Gomel Religious Community was created from the existing community of Beit Yackov, which is chaired by Yosef Zholudev. Since the election of Yosef Zholudev as the chairman, and the beginning of cooperation with the Ner LeElef Fund, the situation in the city has changed dramatically. There are regular prayers on weekdays, Saturdays and holidays. A permanent minyan has been formed. The community now involves young people. A Sunday school has been launched and permanent on-line classes with Jerusalem have started. Several young men have decided to start learning Shkhita laws with the rabbi of Gomel, Rav Alexander Goldengersh, and observe Jewish laws and earn their living in a Jewish profession. A regular dialogue with the authorities and the local population continues. The city has started to regenerate Jewish life.
The Community holds holiday activities for the Jewish population of the city. Everyone can participate and get required information and the answers to their questions and moral support. There are seminars, tours, trips to Israel and visits to Jewish sites in Europe. There are numerous activities for children and young people - and this is not even a complete list of our activities. The Community Beit Yackov is a full-fledged center of Jewish life in the city. We are always available in times of sorrow and joy.
In the last few years, the Community has approached financial independence. We work very closely with various foundations and organizations. Local and foreign sponsors are involved. We have already seen the results of this work. With its own and borrowed funds, the Community was able to buy a Torah scroll, order furniture and hire a rabbi.
About 200 Jews consider themselves members of the community and over 1000 residents participated in our events. More than 40 Jewish men from ages 1 1/2 to 74 years old did the Brit Mila. In February 2008 we had a Jewish wedding. The Chupa was set up for the first time in many years. In November, 2008, a boy was circumcised on the 8th day, as Hashem told us. In October 18, 2009 all the Jews of the city celebrated the Ahnasat Sefer Torah to the synagogue.
Reb Yosef Zholudev, head of the community:The head of the community, Reb Yosef Zholudev, was born and raised in Gomel, Belarus. After graduating from University and getting a higher education in economics, he went into business. In 2005 he was elected as the chairman of the Beit Yackov community.