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April 9, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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April 9, 2004

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PAGE 14 )RIDA JEWISH APRIL 9' Divorce/Relationships Confidentiality MARK LANG ASSOCIATES "The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience." Scott Alles and Larry Nicastro invite you to experience their encore presentation of fine art, Judaica, art glass and Israeli jewelry at the new: S COTT C 0 L L A LAURENT E C T I 0 N 348 Park Avenue North Winter Park, Florida 32789 (407) 629-0278 Visit the gallery with a social conscience or WWW.ARTSYAUCTIONS.COM I # w6 r8 Kiokin'14igher Than Ever[ y is a complex By Rachel Pomerance immigrated to America are Among them are a dearth of ily. At the family's deeply identified as Jewish. affordable Jewish education, seders, NEW YORK (JTA)---On the But their Judaism takes a institutions and Russian-born reads stories by Isaac weeks his Baba Sofa could if- different form from main- religious leadership, as well as stead of the Haggadah. ford it, Bentsion Boverman stream American Judaism, aresidualSovietmentalitythat "My motherwanted to rode the streetcar from college where the synagogue is the keeps religion at bay. . the but she intoOdessa'sbusiestmarketto centerofobservanceandcom- Forexample, payingforsyna- havea buy his grandmother a live munal life, and people are goguemembershipwasaturn- chicken for Shabbat. mostly open about their Juda- offfor many newcomers, given of the beloved Russian Pickings were slim by the ism, whether or not they prac- that Soviet-era services were writer will be appropriate time he reached the Privoz rice Jewish rituals, free. They also were reluctant the holiday," says the marketthose Fridayafternoons Ask a RussianAmerican Jew to join Jewish organizations professor of Slavic studies. at the dawn of the 1970s. He'd to describe his Jewish identity that reminded them of the So- Russian Jewish holidays shell out about 25 rubles-- and he typically will talk in viet bureaucracy, sentially are social event roughly20percentoftheaver- secular terms---describing a Also, the American Jewish togaed with Russian fare age monthly Soviet salary at culture borne of persecution groups that received them Co- caviar and smoked fish, the time--and stuff the bird or an abiding love for Israel, cused primarily on social, not Stanley Trepetin, 35, an into his leather satchel, where perhaps half the family religious absQrption, graduate student, who: Because live chickens in now lives. In liberating refuseniks-- in BrooMyn. "Rarely do streetcars were frowned upon, But after years of immigra- Jews denied the right to emi- ever have prayers," he says. he carried the fowl by foot to tion and growth, Jews from the grate under the Soviet sys- In fact, he says, the kosher slaughterer a mile former Soviet Union---now es- tern--the motto was "let my sian Jews congregate away, then watched his grand- timated at between 600,000 to people go," act"let my people s]an events not Jewish mother turn it into chicken 800,000---are becoming in- know," says Rabbi Aryeh soup in the family kitchen, creasingly interested in reli- Katzin, deanofSinaiAcademy, games and talk of vodka "Itwasaschlep!"Boverman gionandorganizedJewishlife, a Russian Jewish yeshiva in center stage. says with a laugh in a tele- Thatsometimeshappensto- Brooklyn and editor of the Retaining their phone interview from Boston, gether, but more often apart, newspaper"EvreiskyMir,"Rus- identity is a priority for where he is chief financial of- from the rest of organized Jew- sian lot"the Jewish world." In who immigrated in the ricer of an engineering soft- ish life. addition, RussianJewsretained says Pnina Levermore, ware company. Of course, the community's a culture that looked down tire director for the It was also the osmosis Jewish identity is diverse, with upon religion. Councillor Jewish throughwhichBoverman, now a small percentage of obser- "There is a big-time para- Renewal, in San FranciscO. 54, and thousands of other rant Jews and a sizable minor- noia" against religion, says It's not so much a Russian-speaking American ity exploring the religion long Rabbi Pinchus Bobrosky, a blanket but somethir JewsattainedtheirJewishiden- denied them. In recent years, Russian-born rabbi in the definedthembackthere tity under soviet rule. for example, several syna- densely populated Russian- kindofmakesthemfeel Now, more than aquarter of gogues serving primarily Rus- speakingJewishcommunityin here," she says. acenturyafterthefirstwaveof sian-speaking Jews have the Brighton Beach section of That steeps the Soviet Jews arrived in America sprouted around the country. New York. in its own bran and some 13 years after the According to Sam Kiiger, Russian Jews were weaned, mass exodus that followed the coordinator of the American he says, on lenin's mantra: ligion. collapse of communism, the Jewish Committee's depart- "Religion is the opium for the Jewish identity of Jews from meat of Russian Jewish com- masses." The Soviets tried to setting foot in a temple, the former Soviet Union is far munityaffairs, RussianAmeri- create "Jewish anti-Semites," God forbid' more complex, can Jews who have lived here Bobrosky says, adding that ton someone not Jewish," Like Boverman, who landed for more than nine years are certain extent, they succeeded. VictoriaWeesies, inWestHarfford, conn in1977, morelikelytoattendsynagogue GaryShteyngartemphasizes grated to Orange mostSovieOewspickeduppieces on Shabbat and holidays, do- thepointinhisacclaimedRus- lif in 1975. of Judaism from their grandpar- nate to Jewish causes, espe- sian Jewish immigrant novel, The community's ents. The elder generation of- ciaily a synagogue, and show "The Russian Debutante's more Americanized feted them a smattering of He- interest in Judaism and Jewish Handbook," in which protago- breworYiddishkeit,butmostof life than those who have been nistVladimirGirshkinischided parents had to pursue their Judaism was squelched by here less time. by his mother forwalking"like ism the Communist state. Since two-thirds of the Rus- a Jew":"How can awoman love segment of Russian Jewish t The rest of their Jewish edu- sian-speaking Jewish popula- a man who walks like a Jew?" ciety, most say. cation came by way of anti- tion in America came here in says his mother, whoaffection- Ironically, however, Semitism and state policy: the the 1990s, the community is ately nicknames her husband think that these' peers who bullied them, the nowreachingthatcriticalturn- "Stalin." Still, as Kliger says, lacking their parents teachers who failed them and ing point, Kliger says. thelongerJewsfromtheformer being Jewish, will lose thestampsof"Jewish"ontheir But they face steep chal- SovietUnionarehere, themore Jewish identity altogether, passports, lenges, according to Russian- Because Jews Mostly because of that op- speaking Jews and those who Jewish identity pression, the Soviet Jews who work with the community, bequeath their children a daism with tached," director of services for Americans munity Centers of Philadelphia. For those working to Americanized they become and the more likely theyaretoadopt religious practice and an overt Jewish identity. When Julian Abrams immi- grated to Hew York in 1989, he was struck by the sight of Jews observing a holiday. Driving along a Brooklyn street, he saw a Jewish promenade--his first time seeing Jews "so openly enjoying their Jewishness," he says. "I cried inside," says Abrams, who is not religious. sian American Jews, ciric concerns. For -Among the Russian Jews Krug here who have adopted reli- events by focusing on I gion, many have found a home and rejecting fees fl ir s intheChabad-Lubavitch move- Rabbi Marc Schr eie - ment. Itsappeal, theysay, stems Hampton Synagog from its welcoming attitude--- in the tony weekend . I . . fl,coupled with free activities. Long Island, N.Y which Th Rabbi Shmuei Notik, who seenthetricklinginofF M,i heads Chabad's outreach to Jewish congregants, a Russian Jews in lllinois, esti- respondtotheimmigr " mates that as many as 150,000 sire to fit in with Art I itt . Russian Jews across the coun- culture. Fresh Funny 0SSIBLE tryareaffiliatedwiththemove- "Our challenge is t, ,I1 l p |, ment. the greater Russian E & SI .re.ply LA Times MidMl O, ; 0 IjuUGH. "They like to hear that de- community that you I Temhc spite the fact that they don't successful and very, ew torV, Ttmes have any background, none- American, andatthesal a Gale-Force theless Chabad accepts them" you can be a practicin Entertainment!" and "gives them a chance to he says. grow in their Jewishness," While Russian An ' Notik says. Jews seem "almost de I TICKET while many Russian Jews religious observance,' : 4.07 SI4 Y.lqq uuy Ono 81 they generally practice a brand to their Jewish roots. . . attend High Holiday services, says, they are slowly r ,I wr our= ,o+ Special Group Rates Available Save-/z 1 u. "- of Judaism from an era prohib- A rabbi from an I *Must mention MID-WEEK. Limit 4 fix. This "Special Safe" cannot be used with any other offers, special rates, or iting it: They piece together famil I previously purchased tickets. 0nly valid for Tues, Wed & Thurs evening shows. Service fees apply. Offer Expires 4.29.04 fragments of secular Jewish a Jew" knowledge to constitute prac- tural rice and identity. Russia. "One Take Svetlana Boym's faro- says,