Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman was born in Leningrad in 1966. In his youth, Rabbi Azman was been an active participant in the refusenik movement. In 1982, the central communist newspaper Pravda, reporting on Jewish refusenik activities in Leningrad, labeled him "An enemy of Soviet Power." In 1987, Rabbi Azman received permission from the Soviet government to leave the USSR for Israel, where he received Smicha (rabbinical ordination) under Rabbi Yekusiel Farkash, volunteered in the IDF, and worked to help Russian-Jewish immigrants adjust to life in Israel.
In the years following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Rabbi Azman joined the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s rescue mission – “Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl” – to help evacuate and resettle affected Ukrainian-Jewish children to Israel while ensuring all their medical and psychological rehabilitation was taken care of. Since beginning his service in the IDF in 1990, Rabbi Azman has been physically present to support and care for soldiers during every war in Israel.
In 1995, Rabbi Azman moved to Kyiv and founded a synagogue in one of the rooms in the grand Brodsky Choral Synagogue, which had been turned into a puppet theater during the Soviet period. There, Rabbi Azman was able to revive Kyiv's Jewish community, which continued to thrive until the government granted the entire synagogue to the Jewish community. Rabbi Azman went on to build core communal infrastructure, including a communal soup kitchen, chevra kadisha (Jewish burial society), medical center, and Jewish education system for Kyiv and its surrounding areas, caring for children from infancy through high school.
Rabbi Azman was at the forefront of efforts to support East-Ukrainian refugees of the war in Donbas in 2014 in Kyiv and Ukraine. He also led efforts to evacuate the wounded and arrange immediate hospital care in Israel and in the west of the Ukraine.
Following the war in Donbas, Rabbi Azman founded the village of Anatevka, outside of Kyiv, which became a place of refuge for displaced families.
In 2001, Rabbi Azman was awarded the Badge of Honor by the Mayor of Kyiv.
Rabbi Azman became an honorary citizen of Kyiv and is a knight of the highest awards of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress and the United Jewish Community of Ukraine.
In 2009, Rabbi Azman was awarded an Order of Merit by the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yuschenko.
In 2012, Rabbi Azman became a military Rabbi of the 5th Special Forces battalion in Israel and was elected into the European Jewish Parliament.