Monday, April 30, 2007

Gardirobshitsas Galore! April’s Best Babushkas

As April blizzards lead to May flurries, we salute Xena and Galya, 2 of the most loyal volunteers of the Minsk Jewish Campus: the coat ladies, or gardirobshitsi. No one enters the campus without first being screened by these grandmas. Eritchka cannot enter or leave the Jewish campus without having a 10-minute Russian gossip-fest with these ladies, thus making them the best Russian teachers Eritchka has in Belarus.

Xena and Galya have both been volunteering as the Minsk Jewish Campus coat ladies since it was founded in 2002, and they plan on continuing their services “until Minsk doesn’t have winters anymore,” as Xena aptly put it. From Shabbat services, to family club, to Yiddish concerts, Xena and Galya are present at every important event to relieve cold community members of their heavy winter-wear.

Besides contributing their time, both babushkas have trained their offspring to be future leaders of the Jewish community. Galya has 2 grandchildren who are frequent visitors at Jewish events, and Xena’s granddaughter is on the Hillel board.

Although there are still snow flurries in Minsk, the ladies will not be taking coats again until October, when people start wearing heavy coats again.
Above Photo: Galya motions to Xena telling her to focus on the camera. "But I haven't fixed my hair!" Xena exclaims. These babs always look their best.

Israeli Independence Day with Elasto Girl!

Really flexible Jewish girl performs splits and flips in the Minsk Jewish Campus much to the amazement of the (mostly geriatric) crowd. Happy Yom Haatzmaut! For more on Israel Independence Day on the Minsk Jewish Campus, see

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It's Enough Already!

Watch professionals of the Jewish Community sing "Dayenu" at the Minsk Jewish Campus. "Dayenu," hebrew for "it would have been enough" and a Passover classic, perfectly expresses Eritchka's feelings after 8 seders. Two would have been enough.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Check Out This Blog from Pinsk!

What's a blog on Jewish Minsk without a comrade-blog from Jewish Pinsk?! Finally, added to Eritchka's "Link List" on the right side of the webpage, you can always find out the latest happenings from Jewish Pinsk by reading the Karlin Gazette. Check out the latest article on "Kosher Food in Pinsk for Passover!"

Thursday, April 5, 2007

There's No "Fool" in "Jew"

On a day known for absurdity and shenanigans, Jews gathered in the Minsk Jewish Campus to obstinately celebrate a heritage of braininess. While the rest of the world played preposterous pranks on neighbors, Jews, in their usual stiff-necked fashion, did just the opposite. The April Fools’ production in the Minsk Jewish Campus, contrarily entitled “Yiddishe Khokhma,” Yiddish for “Jewish Wisdom,” defiantly exalted Jewish wit throughout the ages through song, poetry, and of course smart jokes only.

Apparently people at the Minsk Jewish Campus weren’t the only Jews in Minsk diametrically opposing April Fools’ Day. The synagogue on Daumana Street also hosted a gathering of Jewish folk singers and poets who shared their favorite classic verses with an intimate crowd in the synagogue study.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Chew on This!

“This is really the bread of affliction,” speculates Ilya Fridman looking like he’s chewing on a wooden plank. It is clear though, that not everyone at the Minsk Jewish Campus Mazl Tov model seder feels the same. At this daycare center’s seder for ages 0-3, toddlers ravenously devour hunks of matzah bigger than their heads, some putting down 2 or 3 whole pieces. The Mazl Tov staff bundles stacks of unleavened bread for parents to take home for the holiday so the whole family can celebrate, that is, if they can keep it away from their insatiable children!

Above photo: Ilya feeling the suffering of the Israelites while trying to eat a piece of matzah. On left: Mazl Tov staff woman celebrates Pesach in style—leopard is the new black this seder night!
Happy Passover!

Babushka of the Month: Looking Back on March Madness

Before moving onto Passover festivities, let us ponder the past month of Purim folly. There is no better way to meditate than with March’s best babushka. Donning her men’s suit, mustache, and bowler hat, Shoshana is the embodiment of the Purim theme, nothing is what it seems. In this photo, Shoshana is rehearsing for the Hesed elderly daycare Purimshpil. In their modern take on the story of Esther, Shoshana, as Achashverosh, is a gambling fanatic who loses his wife through the addiction. “He” meets the lovely Esther and saves her family from Haman, the evil cowboy, who tries to kill Esther’s family. Shoshana, grandmother of 3, is a regular attendee of Hesed programming and a celebrity in the Minsk Jewish Campus.