«Jewish Observer»
April 2002
5762 Nisan

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Odessa celebrated the days of Israeli culture in the second part of May. If everything you know about Israeli culture is yells "Dudu!" and "Moti-i-i!" under your windows at 5:30 in the morning, or putting legs on whatever (mainly on seats), you will be pleasantly surprised. Instead of all this there were lots of poems, performances, and memorial board openings.

Let us recall the main points of the celebration program.

Israeli poetry evening. The famous Odessa actor Oleg Shkolnik presented Russian translations of works by Iyehuda Amikhay, Yakov Koen, Yokheved Bat-Miryam and others. Our readers might know the name Amikhay - one of the most famous country poets. But they hardly know his poems. They are quite complicated, but Oleg Lvovich is far not a beginner, so he coped with the task, and did not discredit the Golden Hall of the Literature Museum.

The exhibition "Jerusalem in Ancient Maps and Pictures" opened in the same museum a few hours earlier. Do you like maps? You don't? In vain. They have their own charm. Though they are a bit not precise, and working with projections causes headache to any specialist from the National Research Institute of Geodesy and Cartography, it does not matter. Sure, we feel pity for those specialists, but the maps are worth to have a look at. On those maps Jerusalem is situated there, where it should be - in the center of the world. Someday this will happen, and then these old maps will be of great use. They will help us not to get lost... The only strange thing is that cartographers did not place Odessa somewhere in the neighborhood.

The Israeli state and the Israeli Culture Center in Odessa decided to correct mistakes of the ancient. Opening of memorial boards to two Odessa citizens, whose names are, unfortunately, known better in Erets-Israel, was a part of the project "Israel - to Great Odessa". It was also part of the visit of Anna Azari, Israeli Ambassador in Ukraine, to the city. Meyr Diesengof, one of the Tel Aviv builders and its first mayor, lived in house 30, Osipov Street. Who knows, perhaps the memorial board should have been placed on the Odessa prison entrance, where Meyr spent 8 months for being an underground social democrat. It was there he understood the senselessness of the revolution and decided to dedicate himself to Zionism. He made a right decision. Otherwise he would become a true Lenin follower, and streets of Soviet cities would be called in his honor... Then his name would be changed. But he decided otherwise.

The second memorial board was opened on number 12, Bazarnaya Street, where Shimon Dubnov, "father of Jewish history", spent 10 out of his 16 Odessa years. He was a symbol of Jewish science for the world for a long time. That was Jewish science, not science with Jews. However, his "History of the Jewish People" has lost its actuality through the last 100 years, and it is no more the primary history textbook. But, at the same time, it is impossible to count all Soviet Jews, whose return to their people began from this book. Shimon Dubnov perished in the Riga ghetto. They say his last words were "Schreib, Idn, schreib..." - "Write, Jews, write...". We obey his words.

It is difficult to write about the exhibition "Zeev Zhabotinsky and Odessa", as there is too much to write. Briefly it sounds this way: excellent person, excellent city, excellent exhibition.

And the last point, which should be mentioned. Anna Azari awarded the title of "Righteous of the World" to people, who saved Jews during the Holocaust years. Not all of them survived to see this day (in this case the awards were given to their relatives). Here are the names of these people: Neonila Chistyuhina, Lidiya Ignatova, Lidiya Karazhova-Popova, Evgeniy and Andrew Shevalev, Lidiya Bolgan and Alexey Marchuk, Domnikiya Solovyova, Klavdiya Yeremenko, Semen Grinich and Sofya Yersh, Nadezhda Zhygalova and Adolf Buka.


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