E-mail uit Moskou

"Hi! I’m Viktoria Averbukh and I would like to tell you about Jewish youth life in Russia." Blijf op de hoogte van het joodse leven in Rusland en lees Viktoria’s columns.

I’m 23 and I live in Moscow. The history of my family is common for Jewish families in Russia. My grandparents were born in the Ukraine. Before the Revolution Jews in Russia lived their lives in settlements, the shtetles – Jews were not allowed to live in cities. They lived in small towns or villages, and only a rich person could live in the city. For example, the father of my great-grandmother, who was a merchant. He had a sanction to come to Moscow on affairs of business. The husband of her daughter, my great-grandfather, was the head of the Jewish community.Another great-grandfather sold milk (doesn?t this remind you of the famous book about Tevie by Sholom-Aleichem?). He had three cows and three tall, strong, healthy sons. Together they made sour cream, oil, cottage cheese, and then carried them to villages. After the Revolution he was recognized as a very rich person and the communists took some cows away. And then, during the Second World War, fascists dumped him from a ladder, shot his wife and one of his sons… His other son became my grandfather. After the Revolution my grandparents moved from the Ukraine to Moscow. That is why my parents were born in Moscow and I’m radical muscovite.My family has tested all the "charm" of a communistic mode however, as well as many Jewish families. My grandmother and grandfather could not speak Yiddish because their neighbor told the KGB they were foreign spies. My other grandfather was arrested when Stalin was head of the USSR, in spite of the fact that he was wounded during the Second World War.But my grandparents have managed to keep the Jewish house. All the family – a very big concept here, like in Italy 🙂 – gathered on holidays. I remember, there came aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and sisters, nieces and nephews, granddaughters, husbands of cousin granddaughters, mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law. My grandmother and my mother cooked the stuffed fish, the grandfather made a domestic wine, the other grandfather bought matzot. My mum sang Yiddish songs.Sometimes my grandfathers prayed in a synagogue. When my sister and I were born, they wrote us down in a synagogue and read a thankful pray. My parents went to the same synagogue – on Arkhipova street. Now my friends and I go to this synagogue on High Holidays…As the majority of my friends in Russia, I don’t know Hebrew, so I?m not able to pray. But my grandmother thought me some traditions which I observe and I also understand Yiddish. Now in Russia it is authorized to follow laws of all nations and religions. Therefore I study to pray and read books on the history of Jewish people. Of course, with the help of my friends from the Russian Union of Jewish People. I can actually say, that we study to be Jewish. That’s difficult, but we have to do it – to keep our people and our culture alive.

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