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.


leslie said...

hi. great blog. i like how you refer to yourself in third person.

im applying as we speak to volunteer in Izmir with the JSC. I was hoping ask you some q's, since its been a little difficult to read about volunteer's experiences that apart from those posted on the jdc website.
do you have email that i can reach you at?

leslie said...

oh. i almost forgot. my email is

David said...

Hey, I saw the parade for Victory Day in Jerusalem today and thought of you up in Minsk. (wrote about it in facebook notes, too..) keep up the good work with the blog!