For the past six months Blognik Beat has been dedicated to exploring the past, present, and future of Russian-Jewry. Its bloggers have reached back into time to re-tell the story of their ancestors, of their hardships in the Soviet Republic and their struggles in acclimating to a new world. But this blog has not strictly been about detailing the stories of adversity. Its content has allowed us to peek into the Russian-Jewish mind, into how they think and view the world. This blog has adventured into Russian dating, politics, culture, schooling, but most importantly it has looked into the soul of a people. A people who will begin to become more important, influential, and involved whether others are prepared for that end or not.
I spent the summer before college holed up in my room in front of my laptop watching strange cartoon letters take shape and trying to replicate them on my own. I was teaching myself Hebrew.
At around this time of year the Tel Aviv beaches are filled with foreigners, hotels are booked to the last room, and thousands are floating their troubles away at the Dead Sea. Many programs have brought Jews, specifically those of college age, to Israel. The most popular of these programs, of course, is the Taglit-Birthright trip, which has allowed roughly 300,000 young Jews to visit the Jewish homeland. Still, even with this success, one of the questions that has repeatedly troubled the Jewish establishment is how to continue the connection — how can we make the 10 day experience last a lifetime?
For more than half of my life, I was not a citizen of any country. For twelve years, I had to append every application, every interview, and every flight with a long explanation of my life. For all of my teen years, I was a glitch in the civic duty system. From 1999 until 2010, I was stateless.
I live in Philadelphia. My parents live two hours away. So, when my husband and I were looking for a house last year, one of the most important features was the second/third bedroom. Because that’s where my parents would stay. So every house we looked at carried the specter of my parents. Would they be comfortable here? Would this room be big enough for them? Because I’d lived with them for eighteen years, then on the weekends in college, and I was really looking forward to hosting them in my house.