It’s oh so quiet…

Lego Man on a Swing

I am taking a slight hiatus from the blogging as I turn my attention to my main project of the moment – the Soviet-Jewish immigration stories and oral history project. What project? I’m interviewing Soviet-Jewish immigrants who came to Canada in the 1970s and early 1980s. If that’s… Continue Reading »

Weekend Give-Away – Do Russian-Jewish at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival!

Free tickets to the Toronto Jewish Film Festival - Screengrab of films

I’m excited to announce that the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, which is on now, has very generously offered to giveaway 10 tickets to screenings of ‘The Unvanquished’ and ‘From Russia with Falafel’. Want those tickets? You just have to sign up for the Soviet Samovar – my monthly… Continue Reading »

American dreams and the state of statelessness

Jasper Johns Flag MOMA

Review of Stateless in Tablet When I was at Limmud last month, I had a chance to see a new documentary on the Soviet-Jewish immigration of the late ’80s, called Stateless. I also got to review it for Tablet Magazine and naturally, I think you should go read… Continue Reading »

A Soviet-Jewish nightmare comes true on The Americans

Soviet Jews on the Americans

Well. That was gut-wrenching. I’m a little speechless. Our anti-hero protagonists just reached into my own personal life and gave it a shake. Or, more to the point, it’s like the KGB reached out and tapped my parents on the shoulders — really, every Russian that I knew… Continue Reading »

Why I can’t stop watching The Americans

The Americans Cold War spy show on FX

Can we talk about The Americans? Let’s talk about The Americans. Because no one in my Russian-Jewish circles is talking about this show, and now they’ve got a storyline about Soviet-Jews and you should all start watching it. Even Gary Shteyngart is watching – it’s his favourite show… Continue Reading »

Limmud FSU Canada is coming in October

Limmud FSU Canada Organizing Committee

I’ve mentioned this before, but now there’s a website, so it’s real – Limmud FSU is coming to Canada in October. Of course you’ll be there, right? The organizing committee went on a planning retreat in January (that’d be the one where I yakked about my bukvar and… Continue Reading »

12 things I learned about Soviet childhood from my Bukvar

Soviet Childhood pictures from my Russian Bukvar

After my last post, one of my cousins got nostalgic for her old Bukvar and thought she’d try to buy one online. She found one on Amazon, to the tune of $2,450. My heart is breaking that I didn’t have the fortitude to do anything more useful with… Continue Reading »

Russian Bukvar for beginners – How I almost didn’t learn Russian

Russian Bukvar - Russian Alphabet Primer

I wrote a bit last time about one of my ‘immigrant identity crisis’ vignettes that I shared at the Limmud retreat. But it started with an assignment, to bring an artifact, or object, from home about our Russian-Jewish heritage. When you and your childhood home are separated by… Continue Reading »