Browsing Tag

in soviet russia…


The Anthem for Russian Jewry that Mobilized the Masses

By On December 22, 2017

In 1977, Natan (Anatole) Sharansky was arrested for treason against the Soviet Union. When Cantor Robbie Solomon heard how courageously the long-time refusenik and human rights activist stood up to his accusers,… Read More


When King Kong’s Creator Was Interrogated by a Legendary Jewish Writer

By On October 10, 2017

Coincidences involving famous Jewish writers and a giant, stampeding ape don’t come around very often. This one begins with Russian Jewish author and diarist Isaac Babel, who documented the horrors of the… Read More


This Forgotten Soviet Artist Depicted Jewish Suffering

By On January 13, 2017

Raised images of Yiddish poets gaze at viewers from gravestones. These two-dimensional memorials, however, are the only gravestones these 12 poets murdered under Stalin would ever have. This series of portraits, called… Read More

The Russian Jazz Starlet Who Sings in a Brooklyn Basement

Meet the Russian Jazz Starlet Who Now Sings in a Brooklyn Basement

By On July 22, 2016

Some dentists spruce up their offices with a potted plant or a TV. But if you chance to get a root canal in Brighton Beach, NY, you could get treated to a… Read More

The Soviet Jewish Writer Whose Novel Was Banned for 200 Years

The Soviet Jewish Writer Whose Masterpiece Was Banned for 200 Years

By On February 3, 2016

In 1959, Soviet Jewish writer Vasily Grossman finished his magnum opus, the novel Life and Fate, an account of the Battle of Stalingrad during the Nazi invasion of the USSR and, simply,… Read More

A Yiddish Satire With Yiddishe Mamas and Soviet Fools

A Forgotten Satire of Yiddishe Mamas and Soviet Fools

By On June 23, 2014

Stories of a bustling courtyard populated by hapless sages and wise young fools fill Moyshe Kulbak‘s classic satirical family novel of Soviet Minsk. It’s a compelling, tender read, newly translated by Hillel Halkin with a… Read More


The Yiddish Writer and the Siberian Exile

By On May 7, 2014

All manner of genius can be found in the shrouded annals of Soviet Jewish history. Born Pinkhes Kahanovitsch in 1884 Ukraine, Der Nister—the nom de plume meaning “The Hidden One”—was a widely underappreciated Yiddish writer… Read More


The Greatest Soviet Jewish Artist You Never Heard Of

By On May 5, 2014

In a climate that spawned heavyweights like Marc Chagall, Sholem Aleichem, Irving Berlin, and Isaacs Asimov and Babel, it’s no surprise there were yet other Soviet-era Jewish artists who evaded mainstream recognition. El Lissitzky is one such fellow. A… Read More


The Yiddish Separatists in the Siberian Wild

By On February 4, 2014

Deep in the swampy climes of Siberia, tucked away on the Chinese border, lies a little region you’ve probably left off your vacation itinerary: Birobidzhan, capital of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (JAO). Part of… Read More

Dazbog Coffee

A Post-Soviet Jewish Coffee Chain – in Colorado

By On January 24, 2014

“Flavor as big as Russia!” So proclaims one ad for Dazbog, Denver’s most peculiar chain of independent coffee shops. Dazbog Coffee (a phonetic spelling of the Russian dast bog kofe—”May God provide coffee”) is the… Read More


“Goodbye, Boys!” & Forbidden Soviet Jewish Film

By On July 10, 2013

In the lazy summer days of the late 1930s, 3 Soviet teenagers roam the streets of a small seaside town as their youth slips away and WWII looms. The boys, one of whom… Read More


Fiddler on the Roof, Soviet Émigré-Style

By On June 6, 2013

Nadia Kalman’s The Cosmopolitans gives us a Tevye for the 21st century. The novel features a family of Soviet Jewish émigrés: Osip Molochnik (whose last name literally means “dairyman” in Russian), his wife Stalina (after… Read More

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