Violetta, a New Yorker who is JDC’s Ralph I. Goldman Fellow working with the Jewish community in Odessa, recently had the opportunity to blog about her heartening reunion with her great-aunt, an Odessa resident. This family visit presents another reminder about the importance of JDC’s Jewish renewal work in the former Soviet Union and how one Jewish family, oceans apart, view their identity and traditions. Young Jews are increasingly interested in global service and Violetta, through JDC’s prestigious Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship, has become one of many who are heeding the call to serve those in need through JDC programs.
“It is hard to be in Odessa, realizing that for over 70 years this city as most of the FSU suppressed any kind of active Jewish life or memory ... Why than am I sitting having tea with my great-Aunt who never left this city and being questioned on my “Jewishness”. I couldn’t help wondering at loud why they had decided to send my cousins to Jewish Schools v. Public Schools in Odessa. It is the same question I pose to my grandmother back in New York when she attends synagogue for Shabbat Services. How do you know you are Jewish if your entire life you weren’t allowed to know or practice? In the over fifty years my grandmother lived in Odessa, she never once stepped foot into a synagogue. My grandmother’s only Jewish memory was when she was a child going to her grandmother’s house on Friday nights, seeing her close the curtains, light candles, say something in a language she did not understand, and eating apple pie—she didn’t know what was Jewish about that tradition but she knew it was other-thus Jewish. Yet on arriving in New York in the late 70’s her first destination was a synagogue...Why? How did she know? Her answer always astounds me...Even if it was never said out loud she always knew she was a Jew (even if in Odessa, it was just being other). As she says ‘only in America could I actualize it but I always knew, it was always in my heart—I was a Jew.’”
Tags for this post:
Share this Post
An error occurred during your login.
JDC, Cookies, and Your Privacy
An Error Occurred
Logging In With One of Your Social Web Site Logins
Instead of trying to remember a bunch of special username/password combinations to log in to different web sites that you visit, you can now link your account on this web site to your account on one (or more) of the social media web sites shown and log in with the same username/password combination that you use on that social web site to log in to our site.
To provide this connection in a secure manner, we use Gigya, a social network connection provider that works behind the scenes to make safe, secure connections between user accounts on different systems, such as popular social media web sites like Facebook and web sites like ours where you are actively involved in social issues and causes.
Each time you log in, Gigya uses special application programming interfaces (APIs) to establish the connection between the sites and validate your username and password. Neither our web site or Gigya receive or store your social network passwords.
In addition to reducing the number of logins you have to remember, connecting your accounts can make it quicker and easier to share an activity or cause you feel passionately about from our web site with your friends on your social web sites.
You can break the connection between your accounts at any time.