A prominent member of Ukraine’s Jewish community was killed while trying to stop a robbery by pro-Russian rebels.

Garik Zylberbord, 47, was shot dead last weekend as he attempted to stop pro-Russian rebels from robbing his neighbor’s home in Donetsk, Ukraine, according to a report on Chabad.org.

Zylberbord was killed during Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) and buried in Kiev on Monday. He had been planning on leaving Donetsk for Kiev this Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, he got here before that,” said his long-time friend Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski, chief rabbi and co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Donetsk, who fled to Kiev in August.

Zylberbord was a generous benefactor who served on the synagogue’s board of directors.

“He didn’t just give; he gave himself to the community,” said Rabbi Vishedski. “He was available at any time, for any question, always there to help. This is a very big loss: for myself personally, for my family and for our entire community.”

He was a part of the family, said Dina Vishedski, the Rabbi’s wife.

“The funeral was very difficult,” she said. “The Donetsk Jewish community is spread throughout the country, but people came from everywhere. He was a very active person and had many friends. He was a very special person. I have no words.”

Zylberbord is survived by his wife, daughters and parents.

Author: Joanne Hill
Staff Writer, United with Israel