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On #FirstSurvivor and the Russian-Jewish Holocaust experience

January 27, 2019 / Comments Off on On #FirstSurvivor and the Russian-Jewish Holocaust experience
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Walking to the site of a Holocaust mass grave in Romanow, Ukraine

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…

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Kristallnacht on Twitter seems hopelessly naive

November 11, 2013 / Comments Off on Kristallnacht on Twitter seems hopelessly naive
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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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When all is fleeting anyway, food becomes everything (Immigrant Decor Part 5)

August 4, 2011 / Comments Off on When all is fleeting anyway, food becomes everything (Immigrant Decor Part 5)
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Russian Salad Olivier - Russian version of potato salad

If I had a Russian food blog, it would be something like The Gastronomical Me, by Katrina K., a transplanted Russian who lives in London. And, if I loved in London, I would be crashing her monthly Soviet brunch club. As it is, I may have to start my own version in Toronto. In the…

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A suitcase full of matryoshkas and salami (Immigrant Decor Part 2)

July 15, 2011 / Comments Off on A suitcase full of matryoshkas and salami (Immigrant Decor Part 2)
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Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls at the Ottawa Children's Museum

Today’s peek into the immigrant home comes from Anna Tarkov, a journalist and blogger from Chicago. She’s been published in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out Chicago, and others, and her blog, THE OUTSIDER… and the rueful dilettante, is full of insights on the state of journalism today. Though she left the USSR much later than…

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Exploring a haunting oral history of the Chernobyl disaster

May 23, 2011 / Comments Off on Exploring a haunting oral history of the Chernobyl disaster
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Graffiti in Chernobyl to illustrate oral history of Chernobyl disaster

[Update: In 2015, Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature] I’m going through my Instapaper links, catching up on reading about many things, including Chernobyl. These two quotes below so perfectly describe the tensions underlying Soviet society: the complete and utter indignity of daily existence, with its arbitrary cruelties and humiliations. But then there’s…

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Soviet Georgian soup is reclaimed as Shabbat meal

May 9, 2011 / Comments Off on Soviet Georgian soup is reclaimed as Shabbat meal
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Soviet soup pot for kharcho, a Soviet Georgian soup

Please check out my recent post on the Forward/Jew & Carrot blog, as part of their Shabbat meals series. Previous contributors include Claudia Roden, one of my kitchen heroes, and Joan Nathan, so I was very flattered to have my kharcho, a Soviet Georgian soup, included among such company. If you are Russian, then you…

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Monday Links – Russia loves Raymond, nobody loves cannibalism edition

March 28, 2011 / Comments Off on Monday Links – Russia loves Raymond, nobody loves cannibalism edition
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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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Radio days of the revolution: Goodbye Soviet Russia, hello North Korea

March 25, 2011 / Comments Off on Radio days of the revolution: Goodbye Soviet Russia, hello North Korea
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Vintage radio representing BBC Russia

After 65 years, BBC Russia shut down its radio service this week, with all the attendant “end of an era” sighing. That era ended 20 years ago, but hey, who doesn’t appreciate an opportunity to wax nostalgic. If you read anything at all about dissidence in the Soviet days, tuning into illegal radio broadcasts is…

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

February 1, 2011 / Comments Off on Teaching history through games: Are some things off-limits?
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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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Lego and Monopoly: What’s history got to do with it?

November 29, 2010 / Comments Off on Lego and Monopoly: What’s history got to do with it?
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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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