Yum.  Wonderful breakfast of cottage cheese, sour cream, current preserves and blini.  Ella didn’t make the cottage cheese but she will tell me how – this batch came from a farmer – it was dry like pot cheese with larger curds than our farmer’s cheese.  It’s something that cannot be gotten anywhere in Phoenix except during Passover at the kosher market – one would (or might) have expected it at Shavuot, but when I asked the shopkeeper at the kosher market he said he didn’t know why people would eat it – he had never tried it (which surprised me since he’s from Brooklyn and it is commonly sold in NY)!  Anyway, I digress.  We spent a leisurely morning – or I should say, I did – Ella had to dash

street in I-F

street in I-F

off to the university to pick up her paycheck.  Our meeting with Rabbi Kolesnik was at noon, so we worked our way slowly to the synagogue.  He was quite charming –

Synagogue in I-F

Synagogue in I-F

we spoke in Hebrew and Ella translated into Ukrainian for me when the conversation became more complex than my Hebrew could handle.  Apparently he understands English but doesn’t care to speak it.  His family is from Zhitomir, so we compared family names (Jewish geography of course).  He took out a huge bag of papers in files and began to show me the maps and land descriptions in one – it was frustrating to see so much – I just couldn’t figure out how I was going to possibly get clear copies.  I did ask him about shipping the papers to the US but he didn’t want to do that although he had no objection to having copies made – the hold-up is that his office copier is quite slow.  It’s a desktop copier, not a big machine.

Description of a structure in Nadworne

Description of a structure in Nadworne

He understands the necessity of having some mechanism to make sure that the papers are preserved since a fire ruined many of the files already.  Finally, it occurred to him – there is a woman, Nathalie who is Ukrainian, had been living in Israel for 16 years, and is now back in Ukraine with her husband.  She has been doing office work for the synagogue, a lot of it at home where she does other free lance work.  Nathalie was on her way to the synagogue while we were speaking, and when she arrived, she and I (and Ella) quickly discussed making copies of all the documents and sending me those copies – she is going to scan them all and send them electronically to me!

On our way to the synagogue we passed by a sign that had a familiar scene on it and we stopped to see what it said – as I thought, it was an ad for Fiddler on the Roof which was going to be playing for 3 days later in the week.  After lunch, we passed another sign saying there was a preview this afternoon, so we stopped and saw the play – Ella had never seen it, although Shalom Aleichem is apparently quite popular and well known in Ukraine.   There is a memorial to him in Kiev but I didn’t see it – if I had realized it was there,Fiddler in I-F I would have asked Myroslav to take me – it’s one of the great things about not using an official tour guide and

also one of the pitfalls – you see lots of off the beaten track stuff, but miss some obvious sights.  I still prefer this method of sight-seeing.

It was amazing watching the play in the context of the area in which it had been written, with some interpretive overtones.  It’s also amazing to be listening to something in words that are completely unintelligible to me, but because I know the story so well, had no trouble following!  I uploaded a short clip from it to youtube

We passed a shop that had some decorative framed pictures, mounted on pieces of wood – the photos are historic photos of Stanislawow – I would love to just get copies of the photos without the frames but so far we have not been able to discover a source.  Rabbi Kolesnik showed us a newly published book in Polish, from Poland, about

Rabbi Kolesnik

Rabbi Kolesnik

Stanislawow but apparently it is not available in Ukraine for purchase!  It is published in Krakow and I hope I can figure out a way to purchase it.  The photos alone are precious – I can probably pick out names in it and find passages that might be of interest based on the names, but without a dictionary won’t be able to understand a word of it!

Ella and Sasha are going to Hungary for a short vacation after I leave, to visit a former student and Ella was explaining some of the difficulties in getting a visa to go there now that Hungary is part of the EU – challenges that previously didn’t exist!

We took a lunch break today and had individual pizzas at Pizza Plus – these were quite good – I had veggie, Ella and Sasha had what I think is pepperoni.  While we were eating ice cream for dessert, Ella’s mother walked by and joined us for a short chat.  She has been wearing the silver armadillo pin with turquoise I gave her every day!  Today, it appeared that she had taken a liking to a silver bag I gave Julia and adopted it for her own!  I will have to find another one for Julia and send it.

We walked past the building where Diana Landsman lived with her parents – it is no longer a house but a government building.  It sounds from the address my dad gave me of the shiva location after Selig Gras’ death that Chana and Selig lived in the same building as the Landsmans did.  Rabbi Kolesnik said there are police reports at the archives and that something like the fire Betty told me about should be there.  He also said he remembers some archival information about the Landsman family.  We go to the archives on Friday – I think it will be exciting and productive (well, at least I hope it will be!) – sometime this weekend, Sasha’s daughter Ira (short for Irena), her husband Valera and their daughter Anya will come for a visit.  I hope Misha, Myroslav’s father will be able to go to Lviv – the city sounds wonderful and like it would be a fun day.

Many men here carry what look like handbags with a solid handle which they hold – it is like a tiny briefcase in shape.  Although we see young people with piercings, there aren’t very many and tattoos are tiny and not very prevalent.  Clothing on the street is similar to what we would see anywhere in the US but there are many more dresses in evening styles and very sheer being worn during the day on the streets.  Patterns that we wouldn’t normally see mixed, are often seen here – clothing seems to be matched by style, regardless of colors or patterns.  Lots of t-shirts have American themes on them with slogans to match.  People are extremely polite, wishing everyone they pass a good day.  Supermarkets are clean and well stocked and small grocery stores are on every street.  Today, Sasha and Ella told me,  there was a huge increase in the price of some foods and wines.  There was advance notice of it so the increase wasn’t a shock but I think the percentage of the increase may have been!

I did ask Rabbi Kolesnik what he needed in the synagogue, which by the way, is being restored beautifully.  He said that ultimately he would like to turn the bottom floor into a museum commemorating the inhabitants of the city and the rabbinic dynasties, but right now his next project is to update and renovate the mikvah including adequate ventilation – that project will cost about $7,000.

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