“We didn’t know that the Jewish custom is to put a six-pointed star on the grave. We did what we could do by ourselves.”
New York is home to hundreds of thousands of Russian-speaking Jews, but try finding a kosher restaurant that specializes in classic Russian fare.
Gary Cherkassky’s grandmother, who is 80 years old, isn’t on Facebook or Instagram. She doesn’t even have a smartphone. But if you are a Russian Jew, chances are you’ve probably heard what she has to say somewhere on the internet.
Not long ago, Jean Bergman, an 88-year-old retired manicurist, received a check for $1,000. The check arrived in connection with her husband’s grave at Eden Memorial Park, a Jewish cemetery in Los Angeles. The cemetery has been sued twice after allegations that gravediggers were instructed to throw human bones interred there into a dump pile to squeeze in more graves and thereby maximize profits.
“We get $800 per month. With rent and everything, to save $10,000 is pretty hard,” said Romm’s daughter-in-law, Vera Romm. “The Jewish community paid for the funeral. But when we wanted to put in a gravestone, they told us that we’d have to pay back for the cost of the funeral, too, which made the gravestone very expensive.”
We often hear stories about how hard life was for Jews in Russia back in the day. Still, after they passed away, even poor Jews in the Russian Empire got to have gravestones. In America today, though, we can’t afford gravestones anymore — not for everyone. And, in fact, there are Jewish organizations that are preventing people from putting gravestones on their loved ones’ graves.
Trump’s openness to friendship with Russia is a good thing, argues Russian-American Julie Masis.
No Jewish visitor to Ukraine’s National Art Museum can pass this painting without stopping to look:
I was overwhelmed by the number of responses to my article “Russia Quietly Strips Emigres of Dual Citizenship” that was published in the Forward in June. The article reported on Russia’s new citizenship rules, according to which anyone who was not residing in Russia on February 6, 1992, is no longer considered a Russian citizen.
Under new regulations the consulates are enforcing, anyone seeking to renew a passport who was not registered as living in Russia on February 6, 1992, will be rejected, even if his or her passport had been renewed on previous occasions. It is unclear just how many people this new policy will affect. But it will certainly apply to thousands of Jews who emigrated from Russia after July 1, 1991 — the date on which the Soviet Union, then in its final days, ended its policy of taking away the passports of Jews who left the country with exit visas to Israel.