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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

jewish heritage day in Odessa

So our final day in Odessa (we leave tomorrow morning) we did all the Jewish sites-

Odessa became the home of a large Jewish community during the 19th century, and by 1897 Jews were estimated to comprise some 37% of the population.

At the start of 20th century, anti-Jewish pogroms occurred in cities and towns across the Russian Empire such as Kishinev, Kiev, Odessa, and many others. Numerous Jewish self-defense groups were organized to prevent the outbreak of pogroms among which the most notorious one was under the leadership of Mishka Yaponchik in Odessa.

Odessa, the city, which at the dawn of the twentieth century became one of the largest Jewish places in the world. Indeed, the Jewish history of Odessa is absorbing: the nineteenth’s century Odessa welcomed Jews and yet the first pogrom in Russian Empire happened in this city; while paradise in the eyes of some, the city was a hotbed of depravity in the eyes of others. Odessa enthusiastically embraced Haskalah movement, and yet later became home to Zionism and Hasidism.  Despite decades of anti-Semitism under the Soviet regime, the city preserved much of its Jewish heritage and is now experiencing rebirth of the Jewish culture and religion.

We visited sights, connected with such prominent names as Shalom Aleichem, Isaac Babel and Hayim Nahman Bialik, and the famous Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky as well as the first mayor of Tel Aviv Meir Dizengoff. We visited synagogue and monuments and all things Jewish....

and since I neither read Hebrew nor Cyrillic letters - you are on your own with these- LOL...

just when I had had about enough Jewish-y things we headed to the Museum of the Jews in Odessa and saw an hour or so more of them- - - which was fascinating to Phil (my historian and Jewish husband) but not so much to me...


finally they fed me-- LOL- at a fun place the driver Valery knew... family owned with excellent food!

Phil's dish- then mine - then Iryna's

my dish was the tastiest! I am sure! even though I did not try the others- it was fabulous!

then we spent time seeing more monuments - and the cold and rain and giant winds were not conducive to being outside so I was getting cranky -


and this is where I drew the line - the howling wind- the rain - and cold- did me in- from this point I refused to get out of the car- LOL-

and this was my last photo - of the Potemkin Steps from the working harbor--- looking up to beautiful Odessa - except that it would be much more beautiful in better weather---

I shot this one out the car window as we headed back to the hotel- much of the outskirts of Odessa looks like this- block after block of Soviet style housing--- we would call them "projects" except these are for all sorts of folks- not just poor people...

but here were two shots of one of my favorite thing from that afternoon-

these were by a bridge they were trying to save from the fate of the pedestrian bridge across the Seine... by creating a place for people to do their "love locks" without doing damage to the structure of the bridge...

so that in a nutshell is our visit to Odessa- we got up early the next morning and went with Valery and Iryna to the airport to fly to Istanbul and then home... the trip was such a good trip I didn't think about heading home until day 20 of 21 days which is amazing- usually about day 10 of a 14 day trip I am that way...

Next up - I will backtrack to our days in Romania- which was my favorite country - if Iryna could have been there with us it would have been the perfect combination.  The time we spent with her in Odessa was wonderful and it was SOOO great to see her again in person! Next time we will not wait so long in between our meetings- so much time but then again - it was as if no time passed at all....

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