Blog

12 things I learned about Soviet childhood from my Bukvar

March 13, 2014 / 3 Comments
,
Russian bukvhar - alphabet book - showing Kremlin

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 mine than mark it all up for…

Keep Reading »

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

March 5, 2014 / Comments Off on Russian Bukvar for beginners – How I almost didn’t learn Russian
,
Russian bukvhar from 1970s

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 over 3,000km, digging up an acceptable artifact…

Keep Reading »

Apparently, there are words I still don’t know in English. Like apron.

March 8, 2012 / 10 Comments
,
Vyertolyet - or wooden helicopter toy - a word I often forget in English

I forgot the word for helicopter the other day. For the rotor, actually. And I didn’t forget so much as remember it in the wrong language. My brain froze up and then offered me nothing but a very Russian “vyertolyot“. The end result is that I have a toddler who will never know what those…

Keep Reading »

Three generations, three languages: A former refusenik on language and identity

April 19, 2010 / Comments Off on Three generations, three languages: A former refusenik on language and identity
,

Ha’aretz has an interview with Soviet refusenik writer David Markish, who immigrated to Israel in 1972. Thirty-six years later, Markish still writes all his books (15 so far, though almost none available here) in his native Russian. Markish’s father, Peretz Markish, a prominent Yiddish writer, was executed by the Soviet regime and the family was…

Keep Reading »

Crimes against language: A guide to gendered food terms

April 9, 2010 / Comments Off on Crimes against language: A guide to gendered food terms
,
Butch Bakery website screengrab for gendered food terms

We may have replaced stewardesses with flight attendants and firemen with firefighters, but that’s ok because food is getting its man on these days. It’s the “manification” of food? Not to be confused with that “mancession” we’re slogging through. So cute, you just want to pat him on the head. This slow creep of gender-specific,…

Keep Reading »

Get the Soviet Samovar

Your monthly round-up of Russian-Jewish news, culture and events.
Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.