In conjunction with Israel's official burial society, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries in Ukraine are working to establish branches of the society throughout the country to ensure that Jewish residents are guaranteed proper burials in accordance with Jewish law and customs.

Branches have existed in some communities, such as Zhitomir, for some time, but organizers see a growing demand for such services within dozens of smaller towns across the former Soviet republic.

While some Jewish leaders, like Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm, Chief Rabbi of Zhitomir, have already organized a branch for their respective communities, there is a growing demand within dozens of other communities across this former Soviet republic. The fact that there is no organized system in place makes it a challenge to coordinate all the necessary events and procedures necessary.

"We are trying to meet the needs of an aging population," said Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm, who set up the office in Zhitomir, "especially when many elderly persons have become more and more interested in observing their national traditions."

As part of the initiative, the emissaries have scheduled a slew of seminars to train lay leaders to carry out religious duties necessary for proper burial. The Federation of Jewish Communities is hosting several training sessions in Israel for some 70 Ukraine residents.