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

May 2, 2014
Toronto Jewish Film Festival ticket giveaway

I’m excited to announce that the 2014 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 round-up of Russian-Jewish news, events and culture.…

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Kristallnacht on Twitter seems hopelessly naive

November 11, 2013
Kristallnacht on Twitter post - interior of burnt synagogue in Berlin

This weekend was the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht – the Night of the Broken Glass, when thousands of Jewish homes and businesses were ransacked and destroyed across Germany. Ninety-one Jews died that night. That was the night of November 9/10, 1938. (Awkward anniversary tie-in – on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.) Media…

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Reclaiming the Soviet Holocaust film industry: My article in Tablet

June 13, 2013
Soviet Holocaust films - Olga Gershenson's Phantom Holocaust Review

I’m very excited about my latest article for Tablet on a new book about Soviet Holocaust films. The book is called The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe, by Olga Gershenson. (Yes, that’s the book I was reading while waiting to pick up my visa application.) I’m not sure I did justice to the…

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An A-Z of Russian hospitality to Jews for Shimon Peres: The outtakes

December 5, 2012
Moscow Jewish Museum of Tolerance logo - Peres at Jewish Museum in Moscow

You might have heard something about Israeli President Shimon Peres and the Jewish museum in Moscow? It’s just opened and Peres was among the important so-and-so’s in attendance. At some point in the proceedings, overcome with emotions dredged up from childhood, he opened his mouth and and the following came out: “My mother sang to me in…

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Monday Links – Russia loves Raymond, nobody loves cannibalism edition

March 28, 2011
Exporting Raymond movie poster

This week’s links round-up starts with a snicker before getting into the heavy stuff. “And then, the Russians called…” – Global Post The creator of Everyone Loves Raymond is invited to make a Russian version of the show. Of course he makes a video about it. Of course you should watch it. Muscovite Lives, Entangled…

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Monday links – The super Soviet, super Jew-y edition

March 21, 2011

It’s been a while since I did a links round-up, so let’s just call this one the super-belated, super-Soviet edition. Did Britain try to assassinate Lenin? – BBC Zev Yaroslavsky: From Soviet Jewry Activist to L.A. Mayor? – Forward Diaspora? What Diaspora? – Scary Azeri blog The Fashions of the War Times – Real USSR…

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Teaching history through games: Are some things off-limits?

February 1, 2011
Monopoly ship piece representing teaching history through games

In my last post, I talked about a new Monopoly game in Poland, which is being used to teach children about communism. I also talked about a role-playing game I participated in at summer camp, just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, where we played Soviet Jews trying to escape the country. Come to…

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Summer camp is for history games (mud optional)

January 31, 2011
Monopoly board for educational history games

Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (an Orwellian-sounding name if there ever was one) has just launched a communist-style variation of Monopoly, to help teach kids about life under communist rule. Lots of waiting in lines, lots of squabbling over basic necessities, lots of random shortages—”Go to end of line. Do not pass Go. Do not…

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Lego and Monopoly: What's history got to do with it?

November 29, 2010

A few links that have been hanging around in my bookmarks and Twitter feed… a lot of video, a little bit of Lego, a little bit of Monopoly… History via Lego Up above, we have the complete history of Soviet-Russia for children, told through Lego. Need I say more? (If you liked that, you should…

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Caught between Stalin and Hitler: On not bridging gaps between old and new

November 18, 2010
Russian Jews Holocaust fund fraud

The poison inside the people who allegedly defrauded the Holocaust fund would be inside you, too, if you had lived as Jews in the Soviet Union. Whatever their sins, these people are heroes, too, for having survived it. The struggle to defeat its legacy requires a daily application of conscience and will, even for members…

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