May 16th, 2013
In April, Team Schusterman had the chance to visit several Hillels in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev. We asked young leaders in each community to write about how Jewish life has changed for them. Read an introduction to this series by Schusterman President Sandy Cardin.
St. Petersburg is the Paris of the North. Actually, it’s better. And colder. It boasts what we think is the world’s worst weather and what we know is the breathtaking White Nights. It is the most snobbish, vibrant and Western-leaning city in our enormous country. We, the locals, with our opulent architecture and great restaurants, still travel to Finland five times a year to do grocery shopping and because the Fins’ gloomy Northern Art Nouveau is worth seeing. We consider ourselves Europeans, but with a harder fortune, and although we consider leaving on every rainy day, the city has caught us and never sets us free.
Our parents do not talk about the Shoah with us, not because it is difficult to find the words, but because they do not completely relate. That’s because the Jews of our city struggled through the Siege of the Leningrad along with everyone else and that is both a source of pain and pride. Our grandparents were professors, musicians and doctors—they spoke little-to-no Yiddish, even though their family names spoke for themselves. Read More »