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Reliving History, Making New History- 4 Day Synopsis

Updated: Apr 3

May 10, 2015

Zev and Alla Fayngold are continuing their work to interview Russians in Yerucham and record their stories.

We had  interviews with 3 families.

Life is taking its toll,- the number of WWII veterans is getting smaller and smaller.   All three of the families we met shared the stories of the war and those of the next younger generation.

They shared how their fathers fought in the war, and those too young to fight in the war escaped the horrors of that war with their mothers and grandparents. After the war, they returned to  their old houses, – some were lucky to meet their fathers, – some not.

Later, the families we met joined  the wave of immigration mood among the Jews of Russia and came to Israel. Their children  in Israel work productively and their grandchildren are serving in the only Jewish country in the whole world as Israel Defense Force (IDF) soldiers!

We met:

Isaac Nibul’sky, age 89 and his daughter Tanya

Zabezhinskaya Tatiana, age 82

Rozenberg, Yakov, age 86 and his wife Svetlana, age 78

In the afternoon Debbie Golan from Atid BaMidbar discussed with Ala and I more about the Limmud Yeroham and Limmud Miami connection and how from Miami, we can  try to engage more Russian Jews into the Yeroham future.

We went to Mind-Cet Ed-Tech and listen to a presentation by Dr. Ilan Ben-Yakov – this project is somewhat similar to the work done by USA Public TV Production Channel 13 in Boston  (WGBH) on  children’s education and how video “games” help  develop children’s natural curiosity and, through the games, their ability to think critically and learn without feeling “bored”.

Lastly we learned about Yeroham’s Robotics project.

Everybody nowadays is doing robotics with children, – in USA, Great Britain, etc.

The most amazing is that the robotics Y-Team in Yeroham is engaging NOT just the elite and the smartest kids, – but ALL who want seriously to work. And the Y-Team leaders sometimes have to force those kids to go home at 3AM!

The enthusiasm of the presenters were viral!

Shabbat Shalom! (May 9, 2015)

Debbie Golan walked with us in the morning to a Moroccan synagogue where we participate in Bar-Mitzva ceremony, being showered with candies, – then we visited the yard of Debbie’s synagogue and met two young ladies speaking Russian, born in Yeruham, finishing their Army Service.

The Family Doron invited us to a Sabbath lunch, – one of their daughters were in Miami lst year on exchange program via Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

 We exchanged thoughts on the current political situation in both of our countries and found that we have a lot in common in our perception of the political climate in our countries.

It was a good Sabbath!

Friday May 8, 2015

At 7 AM Don & Ayelet Sapir guided us all to the Lake area for “bird watching”, where we saw  ornithologists  “tagging” birds, they stopped at Yeruham Lake for a “rest” on their journey from Africa  to Northern countries. We even were given a lucky chance to “release” birds into the air from our hands!.

At 9 AM Debbie get us all into a little van and we were driven into the desert to see vast, enormous area of eroded stone walls of craters and valleys made by running waters during rain seasons..

On the way back we stop at the Yeruham Lake, walk over the damp and talk to a Russian-speaking fisherman, who came heer from Beersheva, – he and his family came from Far East Russian-Yidish “Autonomous” region – Birobidzhan.

We had lunch at in our Irus Hotel lobby and at 5 PM attended Russian concert with Mr. Yashunsky (he was awarded the honor of the title “The People Artist of Russia”).

He read poetry – including his own, about war and sang songs from that era.It was in the Russian culture center across the Supermarket.

Later, after the concert, Valery and Inna Rivkin drove us to their home for a Sabbath dinner. Our dinner ended late, as we all recalled similarity of our common problems in immigration and absorption in USA and Israel, directing our children education and on and on…

We walked to our hotel thru quiet town along with young people walking streets at 11 PM,- freely, peacefully, without fear of any crime.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

In the morning Alla and I had one interview and video-taped with Natan Muchnik,- he spoke in great details  about his family’s escape from the little village where they lived before WWII, and then about all the subsequent life events of  all his family members:

his parents, – his father was in WWII and came back alive, – his wife, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren, – his own career in USSR, move to Biroibidzhan and then finally to ISRAEL!

We did a second interview with Vladislav Grushin and his wife Olga,- they (mostly Vladislav) told us about a horror of life in “blockaded”  Leningrad and how they (as kindergarten kids) were moved to safety. He also talked about his career and his move to Israel, his children, grandchildren…..

Those life stories resonate with our own life experience during the war, – evacuation of our families to the East of Russia, – struggle for physical survival.  These stories were our mothers’ life stories, both of our fathers- mine and Ala’s perished during the war in the battles with Nazi troops.

At 5PM in Matnas (JCC of Yeruham) there was a Victory Day commemorative assembly – where all the surviving veterans were present, with all military decorative honors covering their chests!

Speakers were: both Vice-Mayor, Debbie Golan from Atid BaMidbar, a couple of the veterans, and me.  I was invited to make some short remarks.

The ceremony was organized with songs in-between speeches and  laying the honor wreaths and candle-lighting (6 candles) and then dinner and a concert(!) with singers from the Jerusalem Opera singing war-time Russian songs and tango-dancing!

Later in the evening we all went to the BBQ party at the home of Steering Committee Head Levi-Hevroni, where we all introduced ourselves and discussed issues related to our mission and Yeruham’s future.

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