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From Russia to Israel

Updated: Apr 3

June 10, 2013

It feels like things are coming together as we are coming to the end of our adventure – assignment in Yerucham. Today we began to create our report. Gerry was somewhat under the weather, Heather and Queenie spent the better part of the day with Reuven learning about the Robotics project in detail ( see their blog). I was outdoors for several hours with Yoram Zvik Edna’s husband, and the local naturalist. He described his current tourist activities, his plans for the park, the ancient markings in the hills and spoke of his relationship with the Bracha Foundation and its interest in helping develop the park.

Ancient Drawings

Ancient Drawings

Night image of a scorpion

Night image of a scorpion

Yerucham's Lake

Yerucham’s Lake

At night  we went on a park safari looking for porcupines, scorpions and spiders.  Queenie and Heather came along and actually enjoyed the experience. No porcupines showed but we were successful in finding a scorpion that under black light glows luminously in the dark ( they all do) and several Wolf Spiders whose eyes sparkle like diamonds if light hits them. In the late afternoon and before Engliada I accompanied Debbie and Larry to the Russian Cultural Centre. Alla one of the women we met is the curator of an extraordinary museum of WWII Russian memorabilia as well as a pictorial history of Jewish Russian Officers, and two righteous Russian Gentiles who saved many Jewish lives. Think of it. In an antisemitic country, Jews were Russian officers helping lead the fight against Nazi Germany.

About 90 families with a history in the war came to Yerucham as part of the wave of Soviet immigration in the ’90’s. the Russian community here makes up about 25% of the population but still is not fully integrated.

If Debbie has her way and she usually does, Atid Bamidbar’s programmes will change that reality. I was told that when Russian Youth were fighting in other development towns and placements, Yerucham managed to deal with the huge influx peacefully.

The pictures accompanying this blog will give one an idea of how proud these Russian Jews are of their part in defeating Hitler and how little we really know of the detail of their actions nor how they were affected by the Shoa. Ron Hoffman

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