Walking to the site of a Holocaust mass grave in Romanow, Ukraine

On #FirstSurvivor and the Russian-Jewish Holocaust experience

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day—sharing some thoughts on the Russian-Jewish Holocaust experience. There’s a thread making its way around Twitter about #FirstSurvivors, asking people about the first survivor they ever met. This was my response, which I’m posting here too, with some tweaks, before it disappears into the abyss of updates. Like many #SovietJews there's …

On #FirstSurvivor and the Russian-Jewish Holocaust experience Continue Reading »

Operation Wedding escape plan graphic, designed by Armands Blumbergs.

Operation Wedding: A conversation with Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov

A while ago I interviewed Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov for an article about her award-winning documentary, Operation Wedding, still one of just a tiny handful of docs on the Soviet-Jewish immigration. It’s the story of her parents’ attempt to escape the USSR in 1970, by hijacking an empty plane and flying it across the border to Sweden. …

Operation Wedding: A conversation with Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov Continue Reading »

Canadian Soviet flag mash-up symbolizing Canadian diversity advertising

No Air Canada, I don’t want a Russian flag on my face

Readers! I took a blogging break and it accidentally stretched into too many years (with a few exceptions here and here). Dipping my toe back in more officially now. On my mind this week is Canadian diversity advertising, brought to you by this Only-in-Canada spot from Air Canada that aired during the Olympics, called “Our Time.” …

No Air Canada, I don’t want a Russian flag on my face Continue Reading »

My grandfather and his siblings as a Red Army soldier at the outset of WWII, in approximately 1941.

Looking to the Soviet past to understand Remembrance Day

I properly met my maternal grandparents for the first time shortly before my 10th birthday. Until then, they had been photographs and letters I couldn’t read and Russian storybooks that arrived periodically in the mail. They were the sound of my parents shouting down the telephone line, because in the long ago 1980s people sounded …

Looking to the Soviet past to understand Remembrance Day Continue Reading »

Soviet-Russian seder traditions - Syrian Roasted Lamb Shanks recipe

Stumbling into Syrian cuisine while searching for a Soviet-Russian seder tradition

It starts, as these things so often do, with food. My (non-Jewish) partner and I, recently reunited after a short separation, in the sad bachelor apartment where he had temporarily landed. Where familiar, lonely kitchen things still glared at me woefully, bereft of their mates that had landed up in my kitchen. Where we bumped into each …

Stumbling into Syrian cuisine while searching for a Soviet-Russian seder tradition Continue Reading »

Poster for watching The Americans as a Russian-Jew

Why I can’t stop watching The Americans as a Russian-Jew

Can we talk about The Americans? Let’s talk about The Americans. Because I can’t stop watching The Americans as a Russian-Jew, but meanwhile no one in my Russian-Jewish circles is talking about this show. Now they’ve got a storyline about Soviet-Jews and you should all start watching it. Even Gary Shteyngart is watching – it’s …

Why I can’t stop watching The Americans as a Russian-Jew Continue Reading »

Scroll to Top