The Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, launched the third phase of its initiative to place mezuzahs on the doorways of any Jewish household that wants one.

According to Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Elisha Baram of the city's Nachlas Levi synagogue, students have already placed more than 400 mezuzahs on the homes of the elderly and impoverished families with children. The new phase will see hundreds more mezuzahs given to anyone who cannot afford the holy scrolls, which the Torah commands be affixed on Jews' doorposts.

"We have so many people who want mezuzahs," said Baram. "We have a very large community with many organizations. They are spreading the word and sending people to us."

A member of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine, the Dnepropetrovsk community is led by Chief Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary. Before World War II, one in five of the Dnieper River port's residents were Jewish, but the Holocaust and later Soviet oppression reduced the community's numbers and sent the rest into religious obscurity. Today, after experiencing a revival begun in the 1990s, the community supports several synagogues, a host of educational institutions, newspapers and performing arts groups.

The Dnepropetrovsk yeshiva is named after Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, the city's pre-war chief rabbi and father of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory.

Jewish community director Vyacheslav Brez said that an anonymous donor is sponsoring the program, which is being coordinated by the yeshiva's National Soifer Center.

"The entire Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community is very grateful to the sponsor of this project," said Brez. "This initiative would not have been possible were it not for his invaluable support."

Baram said that many of the mezuzahs will be written in Dnepropetrovsk, while others will come from scribes living in Israel.