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Lost in Immigration: People I Will Never Know

December 31, 2018 / 2 Comments
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Thinking about the trauma of immigration, highlighted in this family photo taken a few nights before we left the USSR.

This photo was taken a few nights before we left the Soviet Union forever. To my knowledge, it is the only photo that exists of me with all my (at that time living) grandparents. That’s them, in the front row. My paternal grandmother, then my maternal grandfather (holding me), and my maternal grandmother next to…

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Looking to the Soviet past to understand Remembrance Day

November 12, 2017 / Comments Off on Looking to the Soviet past to understand Remembrance Day
My grandfather (and his siblings) as a Red Army soldier at the outset of WWII, in approximately 1941.

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…

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12 things I learned about Soviet childhood from my Bukvar

March 13, 2014 / 3 Comments
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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…

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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
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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…

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Refusenik Documentary Screening Part 4: Soviet Dinner, or Sausage Nostalgia

August 31, 2010 / 2 Comments
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Soviet-era dinner with tongue, shuba (or herring under fur coat), all following Refusenik documentary screening

This is the last of my posts on the Refusenik documentary screening. Catch up on the earlier posts: Part 1: Defining Moments; Part 2: The Rescuers and the Rescued; and Part 3: We Weren’t All Refuseniks. To give you a sense of how this little Soviet dinner event happened, it really started out as a…

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