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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
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Project Reach, Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services Bay Ridge Jewish Center

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Question:  What do you miss about life in Russia?



Nothing. America is a great land and everyone can live here in happiness. I come from Estonia where it was not comfortable to be a religious Jew. My family (I have five siblings) couldn’t be Orthodox there.

– Simon Rappaport, building engineer



Nothing. I get teary-eyed every time I think back to Kiev. I worked hard and got little pay. My husband died in Chernobyl, which was a Jewish shtetl. They mistreated Jews terribly. My mother used to go to synagogue but I was afraid; today I’m proud to be a Sabbath observer. All of my family left Russia and came to America or Israel. God bless America!

– Raya Zalivanskaya, bookkeeper 



Nothing. I grew up in Moscow, where the atmosphere was hostile to Jews. My grandparents were religious. When the Nazis came my grandmother escaped to Romania but my grandfather was killed. The only reason I would want to return is to visit my family’s graves. I love America and credit my health to this country’s great medicine and doctors.

– Boris Gendelman, auto mechanic



I just became a citizen last year, and I miss participating in social events since language is still very much an obstacle for me. In Russia we have many forests, rivers and suburbs and I’m not used to the big buildings here. In America one needs a car to get around. I also miss my job, but thank God my children are a great help.

– Yevgeniy Starikova, engineer

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