Should a Jew sing Ukrainian cossack folk songs?
The Anti-Trump Soviet Immigrants Facebook group, founded by Olga Tomchin, fills an immense need for progressive Russian immigrants.
Russians don’t speak highly of Brighton Beach, the seaside enclave in Brooklyn where Samantha Shokin spent many of her formative years.
“Covers,” a new production by experimental theater troupe the Lost & Found Project for the Russian division of the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, attempts to breathe new life into two timeworn themes: young rebellious children and the clash of traditional values in the new world. Premiering May 22 to a packed (and largely Russian-speaking) audience, the show picks up where the troupe’s inaugural production, “Doroga,” left off — young Russian Jewish Americans in present-day Brooklyn, grappling with questions of identity and self-actualization while being smothered by the nagging disapproval of their immigrant parents.
Babushki chattering in Russian, store awnings adorned in Cyrillic, the scent of fresh pierogi in the air — for decades, these displaced attributes of Soviet culture have been characteristic of Brighton Beach, New York’s Russian-speaking enclave in the southern tip of Brooklyn. While much of the borough was busy gentrifying, Brighton managed to stay frozen in time — to the chagrin of many New York Russians, who prefer not to be associated with the ethnic stereotypes of “Little Odessa.” To challenge these negative associations, ArtOnBrighton — a music and arts festival celebrating the diversity of modern post-Soviet Jewry — will take place September 8 just a short walk from the storied neighborhood.
With much fuss and fanfare, this week’s NYU 2012 university commencement marked the conclusion of my undergraduate career. But instead of rushing forth and celebrating recklessly, determinedly, as is perhaps appropriate, that evening was a decidedly low-key affair. In this post-graduation haze, the only thing I’m inclined to do is sit and self-reflect by the glow of my computer screen (a cathartic state rather characteristic of my generation, unfortunately or not).
Passover in my family has rarely been a formal affair. At one point, when I was a child and my family still observed a few watered-down traditions plucked out of the Jewish canon, we would gather round a makeshift Seder table to read selections from the ShopRite Haggadah. A Seder plate and stack of supermarket matzos would be placed on the table symbolically and I, being the youngest, prompted the ritual by asking the Four Questions as necessary.
It’s no small feat to capture generations of hardship in the span of a single theater production. But somehow, the theater collective The Lost and Found Project has managed to do just that, in their experimental play ”Doroga” (or “Road,” in Russian). In the words of the creators, ”Doroga” is “an interactive play that explores personal family stories and immigrant experiences through narratives and dramatic snapshots.” The production debuted at the JCC in Manhattan on March 8 to a packed auditorium of mostly Russian speakers.
On March 8th, mothers, daughters, wives, and girlfriends around the world will be showered with tokens of adoration in celebration of International Women’s Day. Although this holiday has become something of a Valentine’s/Mother’s Day hybrid in many regions, it originated as a Socialist political event in countries of the former Soviet bloc. In honor of Women’s Day, I would like to dedicate this post to the remarkable women in Russian and Jewish culture.
On Valentine’s Day, the Russian Jewish community officially joined the ranks of JDate, ChristianMingle, BlackSingles and countless other dating sites tailored to specific ethnic groups by defining its own niche market within the larger Internet dating pool. RAJE On, an alumni association of the Russian American Jewish Experience partnered with JWed.com, the “largest Jewish dating service exclusively for marriage-minded singles,” to launch RAJEMate — an extension of JWed that “includes filters that allow you to focus solely on Russian Jews” when seeking out a potential spouse. And with a tagline that reads “one step closer to finding life-long partners and making our babushkas happy,” who can resist the call to join?