A year in Dnepropetrovsk

An American volunteer in Ukraine

Archive for Excursions

The Center of the Universe

Not 30 minutes outside of Dnepropetrovsk, past the giant factory that used to employ over 1/5 of the city to make ballistic missiles, there is a large village called Krasnopolye. There you will find a church, a store that carries meat and liquor, a lake, and many small houses with their own farms.

Twice in June I had the pleasure of traveling there, of walking past the cows and the goats, of picking strawberries and grilling shishkebab over an open fire, and of breathing air the fresh air I didn’t realize I missed until I left the city. The people who live there say, laughing, that Krasnopolye is the center of the universe. For a few hours, it was for me, as well.

May travels: St. Petersburg and Moscow

Actually, these pictures are only from Moscow. The St. Petersburg ones are, unfortunately, on my mother’s camera in NY, where they will stay until September, when I load them onto the computer. For now, you will have to do without the beautiful views of Peter’s many palaces, rivers, and museums and instead content yourselves with Moscow’s historical and inspiring statues, churches, and gardens.

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May travels: opening of the new Hesed building in Krivoy Rog

May 12, 2009 the new Hesed building in Krivoy Rog, now named the Beit Graham Jewish Home, was officially opened for business! In town for the celebration were not only all of the JDC Dnepropetrovsk staff members and those who work at Krivoy Rog Hesed, but hundreds of members of the Krivoy Rog Jewish community, as well as over forty English donors who flew in for the occasion.

Krivoy Rog, located in the westernmost part of the Dnepropetrovsk Oblast, is the longest city in the world. Its main roads, all connected in one straightaway, stretch 140 km in length. There are only a couple of blocks on each side of this main road; the city is, essentially, this main thoroughfare.

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May travels: Den’ Pobedy in Odessa

I left Metsudah early to do some touring of Odessa proper. I stayed with Sol and Dina, the JDC volunteers in Odessa, for four days, hanging out with them and seeing the Jewish and touristy parts of the city. They then left for Metsudah, and my friend and colleague Yulia came in to spent the last day with me in Odessa before taking the overnight train with me back to Dnepropetrovsk.

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May travels: Metsudah

The second installment of the four-week leadership conference, Metsudah. This session was held the first week of May in a city not an hour from Odessa, by the Black Sea. The hotel, as you can see, was China themed (even though the main courtyard had Ukrainian khatas, or huts, in it), and so the madrichim, or counsellors, took that theme and ran with it.

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I’m back!

It is not an easy thing to travel to and from Dnepropetrovsk. First of all, it is an extremely expensive prospect to fly to Ukraine (on average, some $1500 for one round-trip economy ticket), simply because there are so few airlines and flights to this country. This difficulty is easily overcome, however, since AeroSvit, the Ukrainian national airline, offers a much reduced fare.


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Gone to NY (and Boston)

Hi, you’ve reached Michelle. I’ll be in America until March 23, but if you leave your name and a brief message, I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks, and have a great day.