‘Roots’, #23

July-September 2004



The first section of Korni (Roots) Quarterly is entitled “The History of Jews in the Russian Empire”. This section discusses the topic of reforms in Jewish life in the first half of 19th century. The first article is called Jews during the reign of Alexander the First, written by Alexander Mindlin (Moscow, Russia). Mindlin describes all of the reforms and demonstrates the impact of the reforms in the history of the Russian Jews.

The author of the second article, The Alexander’s Reform of 1804: Pro et Contra is Michael Savin (Volgograd, Russia). Savin continues and completes the topic in the previous article. Savin describes in detail all the aspects of the educational reform carried out by Alexander I. According to the new rules, Jews were required to attend state schools, study the Russian language and other general subjects. He explains why the Jewish people opposed these reforms.

The next section of the quarterly entitled “The History and Ethnography of Communities” contains the article Life and Customs of the Korsun Jews by Klavdia Kolesnikova (Korsun Shevchenkovskiy, Ukraine). Kolesnikova describes Jewish life in the Korsun region of the Ukraine during the 18th-19th centuries.

Irina Zubkova (Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia) in Trees can Grow on Stones too briefly describes the history of the Jewish Community in Nizhniy Novgorod.  Zubkova writes that the first Jews took up their residence in Nizhniy Novgorod during the reign of Emperor Nikolai in the first half of 19th century. They were drafted into the Tsarist Army and were called cantonists. In her article, Zubkova, mentions the names of many famous Jews families from Nizhniy Novgod, such as the Sverdlovs, the Zahoders, etc.

Professor Roman Trahtenberg (Rehovot, Israel) shares with readers his experience of looking for a job in Israel.  He named his article Isn’t a job like a wolf?  Russians often quote the famous popular proverb “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow”. This proverb means that one should not worry about one’s job, one can always put it off, because it cannot disappear. This proverb reflects the mentality of lazy people. Trahtenberg describes how he managed to get rid of this “soviet mentality” to become a successful professional in Israel.

The third section of the journal is entitled “Thought about Origins”. Aaron Mentz (Arkhangelsk, Russia), dedicates his article Jewish Thoughts to his young son. The author recalls his grandfather and parents, and recounts how the traditions of his family influenced his character and Jewish self-consciousness. He illustrates his story with some of his own poems.

Vera Belova (Carmiel, Israel) describes in her article, Queen Sabbath, the celebration of Sabbath by her family. Vera did not know why her mother behaved differently on Saturdays and why she asked her daughter not to work on Saturdays. When Vera grew into adulthood, she came to understand and it helped her to love and remember that most important Jewish holiday – Sabbath.

Abraham Kratser (Moscow, Russia), in his article, Once again about the ‘Russian Jew’, describes his attitude towards the problem of the ‘Russian Jew’. The author proffers an explanation of what kind of Jews are considered a ‘Russian Jew’.

In the fourth section of the journal, called “History of the Victory”, Gregory Svirskiy (Toronto, Canada) wrote the article The Feat of Engineer Leonid Sheinker. Svirskiy writes about a WWII veteran, Leonid Sheinker. Mr. Sheinker, a Canadian, collected information about Jews who had served in the Red Army during the WWII. He created a museum dedicated to memory of these Jewish heroes. Mr. Sheinker has also published several books about these heroes. Svirskiy describes the difficulties, which Mr. Sheinker encountered when he was writing his books.

Alexander Gogun, (St Petersburg, Russia), in his article The Means of Nazi Propaganda in Psychological War explains why the fascist’s propaganda was so successful and why the Germans and other people believed it.

The fifth section of the journal is called “War and Destiny”. Victor Gekht (Moscow, Russia), in his article Without Childhood writes how he and his family attempted to survive during the fascist occupation of their shtetl – a Galician town of Buchach, Ukraine.

Maya Kofman, (Moscow, Russia), in her article Ways of the Teheran Children. Kofman recounts a story about Polish Jewish orphans who were in the Soviet Union during WWII. They lived in a Jewish orphanage. They wanted to escape to Eretz Israel. The author describes their journey to the ‘Promised Land’ – through Siberia, Uzbekistan, Iran, India and Egypt.

The sixth section of the journal is called “Jewish Literature”. Carol V. Davis (USA) in her article Philip Roth – a ‘major’ US author writes about the works of Philip Roth. Roth, a well-known author has had several of his books translated and published in Russia.

Ekaterina Libinzon, (Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia), in her article Let’s Talk about Gregory Kanovich recounts her meetings with the famous author Gregory. She and her husband Professor Zalman Libinzon, also corresponded with Kanovich. She includes many of Gregory Kanovich’s letters.

In the seventh section, entitled “The Psychology of Community Work”. Psychologist Ilia Shteinberg, (Saratov, Russia) works for the welfare organization “Hasdei Yerushalaim”. He wrote the article Exhaustion through Sympathy. In this article he describes situations of welfare organizations’ employees, who become ‘burned out’ and begin to detest their work. Shteinberg provides advise on to how to act to prevent such situations.

The eighth section of the journal is called “In Memory of the Friend”. Anna Novozhilova (Ivanovo, Russia) writes about her husband and friend Ilia Novozhilov. He was a director of the Ivanovo Department of the Public University for Jewish Culture for many years.

The last section of the journal is called “Readers’ Conferences Materials”. This section contains two conference speeches and an article about a meeting of a book club of Russian speaking Israeli students in North America ‘La Merkhav’. Students held discussions of the quarterly Korni articles. The authors of this section are Ekaterina Ysupova (Biysk, Russia), Liudmila Kafra (USA) and Marina Pashton (Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia).


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