Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich was born in New York on October 19, 1964. He received a Jewish upbringing and education, studying in Yeshivas in Chicago, Cleveland, Israel and New York. Rabbi Bleich is married and has seven children.
In January 1990, Rabbi Bleich came to Ukraine to help restore Jewish religious life and education in Ukraine. He has made tremendous efforts to bring about a renaissance in Jewish education and welfare. Rabbi Bleich founded many Jewish educational institutions, including Jewish Gymnasium and Boarding school #299, the Jewish Kindergarten, the Shuva camp, Yeshiva and Machon Orach Chaim, the Midrasha Tzionit Educational Centre for Adults, and the Orach Chaim international camp for American students. In 1997, the President of Israel honoured Rabbi Bleich with the International Award of Jerusalem for his contributions to the development of Jewish education in the Diaspora.
In 1992, Rabbi Bleich founded the Union of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine. He currently serves as the organisation’s president. He was a co-founder of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine in 1999. Rabbi Bleich is dedicated to expanding charitable activities and care for the poor, as well as securing the return of Jewish property that was confiscated by the Soviet Union. He is working on developing the infrastructure of Jewish communities, cultural, educational and religious organizations. He also coordinates the activities of other rabbis in Ukraine. Rabbi Bleich is extremely attentive to the needs of Holocaust survivors. He founded a special project for seniors, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Kiev Home with Assisted Living Facility for Holocaust Survivors, which opened in Kiev in 2005.
Rabbi Bleich is highly respected by the Ukrainian government and is often asked to participate in many official projects. In 1999, Rabbi Bleich was awarded the Medal for Outstanding Service, 3rd degree, for his outstanding contribution to the development of Ukraine. Rabbi Bleich has brought about significant advances in improving inter-religious and inter-ethnic relations in Ukraine and around the world. In 1996, he became a member of the Executive Board of the World Jewish Congress. In 1998, he was made a member of the Council of Churches and Religious Organizations of Ukraine. Since 2001, he has been vice president of the European Council of Jewish Communities, vice president of the Europe.