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Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10: Through Soviet Jewish Eyes

December 31, 2019 / Comments Off on Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10: Through Soviet Jewish Eyes
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Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10 List: Through Soviet Jewish Eyes by David Shneer

My next selection for the Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10 is Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust, by historian David Shneer, which uncovers the role of Jewish photographers in the Soviet photography industry.

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Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking

December 28, 2019 / Comments Off on Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking
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SovietJewish Decade Top 10 - Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Bremzen

The next book on my Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10 list is Anya von Bremzen’s culinary memoir, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing, which brings fresh meaning to the food on our tables.

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Announcing the Soviet-Jewish Decade: A 2010s Top 10

December 23, 2019 /
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Soviet-Jewish Decade image of bookshelf full of Russian-Jewish books

As the decade comes to a close, I’m looking back at how the Russian-Jewish world has changed. Ten years on, we’re awash in words, in music, in art, in film, and more coming out all the time.

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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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Operation Wedding: A conversation with Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov

January 15, 2019 / Comments Off on Operation Wedding: A conversation with Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov
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Operation Wedding escape plan graphic, designed by Armands Blumbergs.

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.…

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American dreams and the state of statelessness

April 10, 2014 / Comments Off on American dreams and the state of statelessness
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Jasper Johns American flag painting at the MOMA

My review of Stateless documentary in Tablet When I was at Limmud last month, I had a chance to see a new documentary on the Soviet-Jewish immigration of the late ’80s, called Stateless. I also got to write a Stateless documentary review for Tablet Magazine and naturally, I think you should go read it. The…

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A Soviet-Jewish nightmare comes true on The Americans

March 27, 2014 /
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Russian-Jews on The Americans: Promo still for the Cold War spy show on FX

Well. That was gut-wrenching. I’m a little speechless. Our anti-hero protagonists just reached into my own personal life and gave it a shake. Or, more to the point, it’s like the KGB reached out and tapped my parents on the shoulders — really, every Russian that I knew as a child — and said “Here…

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

March 26, 2014 / Comments Off on Why I can’t stop watching The Americans as a Russian-Jew
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Poster for 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…

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12 things I learned about Soviet childhood from my Bukvar

March 13, 2014 /
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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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Growing up Refusenik: A Q&A with Maxim Shrayer on his new memoir

December 12, 2013 /
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Maxim Shrayer memoir - Leaving Russia Interview

[Update – Want to read this in Russian? Click here to read a translation of my Q+A on Booknik.ru] Memoirs about Soviet-Jewish life during the immigration period of the 1970s and 1980s have not yet saturated the memoir genre, so I’m excited to tell you about a new book that’s just come out this month. Leaving…

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