Chernobyl – Чернобыль (Russian), טשערנאבל (Yiddish) צ’רנוביל (Hebrew)

Chernobyl is a historic town located in Kiev region of northern Ukraine. Chernobyl is located on the Pripyat River, a tributary of the Dnieper. All population was evacuated in 1986 after nuclear disaster. Now in town located only few offices of “30km Exclusion Zone” and temporary stuff.

Chernobyl became a part of Russia Empire in 1793, in XIX – beginning of XX century it was shtetl of Radomyshl Yezd of Kiev.

Chernobyl is approx. 32 km from Radomyshl and in 280 km from Kiev.


It had one of the oldest Jewish settlements in the Ukraine, dating from the end of the XVII century (first mention in documents dated by 1193). It was originally under the jurisdiction of the Lithuanian Council and attached in 1710 to the Council of the Four Lands. In 1691 a Cossack gang by colonel Iskrickiy killed many Jews and pillaged their property. There were 695 Jewish poll tax payers in Chernobyl and the surrounding villages in 1765.

In the late XVIII century, Menahem Nahum (1730–1787), a disciple of Israel ben Eliezer Ba’al Shem Tov, settled there. He was the author of Me’or Einayim and Yismah Lev, both printed in Slavuta in 1798. His son Mordecai founded a dynasty of tzaddikim and made Chernobyl a center of Twersky Hasidism family. Mordecai’s many sons also founded Hasidic courts, the most famous being rabbi Duvidl of Talnoye. More about Chernobyl Hasidim you can find here.

Market square in Chernobyl before Revolution