A year in Dnepropetrovsk

An American volunteer in Ukraine

Archive for Metsudah

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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Yom HaShoah

Holocaust Remembrance Day is an extremely important and meaningful holiday for Jews throughout Ukraine. Guests came from all over the country– from Kharkov, Dneprodzerzhinsk, and other eastern Ukrainian cities– as well as from Israel. In addition to the JDC Jerusalem group, the Metsudah leader, Shy, also came to Dnepropetrovsk to commemorate the occasion.

We congregated around the memorial that commemorates where the Jews of Dnepropetrovsk were executed at the start of the Holocaust. There were speeches by Rabbi Kaminetzky, Aharon Weiss, survivers and their relatives, high school students, and others. Poetry was read, candles were lit, and Yulia and I sang a sad Hebrew piece, Eli Eli. We then laid carnations and stones on the memorial. It was a beautiful and moving ceremony. You can see the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish Community’s pictures of the event here.

Back in the USSR

The Soviet Union is missed more dearly in Ukraine than one would expect.

USSR Casino

“Things were better during the USSR,” Sveta, my Russian teacher, has told me many a time. “Education was so much better than it is today. The streets were clean. Everyone could get healthcare. People were more respectful.”

More respectful? How do you figure?

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Metsudah

This post dates back to the 17th of November; I just now realized that I never published it! Enjoy this blast from the past…

I had heard so much about the Metsudah program in my short time here, but couldn’t really understand what made it so special. This weekend I had the chance to experience it firsthand.

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