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04/11/2023 12:37:31 PM


Russia in the 19th Century

I am writing this before Passover, and thinking about a member of our American Jewish community, Evan Gershkovich, wrongfully detained in Russia as a spy when he is simply a journalist (and the son of Jewish emigrants from the USSR to the U.S.) We hope and pray for his freedom.

Jews being mistreated by Russia is sadly nothing new. In the 19th century, Russia tried to rid itself of Jews, either by assimilation, conversion, or emigration. There was much suffering as well, such as pograms, trumped-up charges, and general harassment. In response, a great number decided it was time to leave and made their way to the U.S. Between 1880 and 1930, more than 2.2 million Jews left Russia for North America, Western Europe, Palestine, and Latin America. The majority came here. Their numbers made the Jewish population not only grow in this country; it also diversified the population and introduced cultural tensions between the German Jews and the newcomers. Nevertheless, the two communities did get along eventually. (A common joke: When is an Eastern European Jew not a damn Yid? When he is your son-in-law!)
For those who left to go to Palestine, the story is quite different. Next time!
PS, please join us on Wednesday morning at 10 am for the final day of Passover service and Yizkor.
PSS, last week we said, “Next year in Jerusalem.” Please check out our CBSW June 2024 trip!

Wed, February 21 2024 12 Adar I 5784