Cottage cheese recipe: take about a quart of whole milk and pour it into a glass jar.  If you want to speed the process, add a spoonful of sour cream.  Let the milk ripen and sour.  When it is sour, take the jar and put it into a saucepan that is deep enough to allow water that will reach the neck of the jar, and with a low flame, allow the water to boil until the milk separates.  When the curds sink and it is clear that the thin liquid and the heavier curds have separated, pour it into cheesecloth over a colander and let it drain.  Then gather the cheesecloth with the curds inside it, and suspend it over a sink to permit it to drain further until the cottage cheese has reached the dryness (or moisture) that is the consistency you like.  I will have to try that.

Breakfast was cottage cheese, sour cream, bread and jam.  It was delicious.

We are going to Eugene’s apartment today to begin going through his things.  I will take the camcorder and computer with me as well as the camera.  We are waiting for Nathalie to phone us to say she has the catalog completed for us to make our task tomorrow easier.

Question: what was the purpose of the private synagogues?  Was it due to wealth of the family, to their following of a particular rebbe, their desire to … what? The concept reminds me of the private chapels that wealthy Christians had in France and Britain, but I doubt that the motivation is from the same place.  I wonder if Rabbi Kolesnik knows the answer to this.  When we got to the archives, one of the entries we found, for our great-grandmother, Chana Itta Kreisler in 1884 (!) was that she was holding prayer meetings at 24 Sapizhinska St and  they were not of a political nature.  Was this one of the private synagogues?

Eugene’s apartment has proven to be a treasure trove.  Julia and Asya met us there and we spent a long time looking at photo albums and through papers.  We actually found Diana’s parents’ marriage certificate which had their birthdates on it and Diana’s grandparents’ names!  What a find!  Although I took photos of everything, we are taking the papers to IMGP5674the university to Xerox as well.  Diana’s father was Abraham Hersh Landsmann and his father was Leib.  Diana’s mother was Ettel Hofnung and her father was Isak Winkler (or perhaps Dov Isak) and her grandmother was Maria Hofnung.  While we were excitedly talking of this, Ella’s phone rang – it was Nathalie – she was in the synagogue scanning the catalog for us and wanted to give us what she already had because the Rabbi was leaving shortly.  We packed up and walked over there as quickly as we were able.  She has scanned 53 pages of the catalog of holdings about the Jewish community and just a few pages of the files that I asked for – she transferred it all electronically to a flash drive I had and then, she invited us to dinner!  We will bring cake and wine – I don’t know if Sasha will join us – she will make salmon out of respect for my dietary habits.  Rabbi Kolesnik and I had a brief conversation in Hebrew about the ease of eating fish, breads, fruit and vegetables when meat isn’t available.

He became very talkative and asked if I would have the papers translated and I replied affirmatively.  I also told him that on the blog of my trip I am putting that he is looking for funds to restore the mikveh.  He showed me his personal library which has some very old books – many copies of the mishnah and other texts, biographical works of many Hasidic masters.  He has cataloged these volumes on around 10 pages – I will ask Nathalie to send me that list as well.  I

Page 2 Rabbi Kolesnik's catalog

Page 2 Rabbi Kolesnik's catalog

am sure this information will prove valuable to someone, and since I am here it is silly to ignore it.  I am grateful that I am speaking to him in better Hebrew today than I was yesterday.

We walked home through the market which is outdoors, under colorful tents.  It is so extensive primarily with fruits and vegetables and clothing stalls but also with some areas selling dried fish and meats that it makes Machaneh Yehudah look tiny!

Julia it seems would like to study and work in the US – I am on a fact finding mission for her and have sent out several emails to people asking questions about the sequence of obtaining employment in the US and getting a “green card” or other employment documents.  So far, I have had replies from a couple of people to my questions and when I am at Julia’s again, I will forward the information to her – Ella’s internet connect is slow and it is difficult for me to get the screens I need to send out emails.  I am also concerned about using her dial up connection since they pay for minutes on their phone and I can’t ascertain whether calls to ISPs are also paid for.  I know that their mobile phones allow them to make 50 minutes of calls per day – they can receive unlimited calls.

After a delicious mid-day meal of vegetable soup (Ella wakes up very early every day to make soup which is an important part of their meals) and potato/squash pancakes we went out for another walk – this time to Ella’s university to make copies of the fragile pages we had uncovered earlier today at Eugene’s apartment.  Julia and Ilyushka met us there and entertained Sasha until we were done.  When we came out, we found that Sergey had joined them – we all had a pleasant stroll before Ella, Sasha and I returned home.  I was really starving when we got back and Ella’s “cheese  cake” (like a double crusted quiche) was very welcome as was the ice cream for dessert.

We sat around talking for a short while and then I asked Ella if I could get on-line with her computer –she has dial-up and I don’t have a modem.  To my very pleasant surprise, there was an email from Myroslav, telling me that he had returned the car (which I already knew from phone calls between his parents and Sasha).  He had stopped (at my request) back at the archives in Zhitomyr on the way to Kyev and had looked up some things I had carelessly overlooked, due to my excitement at what we were finding.  What Myroslav found was incredible – my maternal grandfather’s birth certificate! The date was of course recorded in the old style and needed conversion and some imagination to reconcile the difference between it and what we knew as his birthdate.  If we do the conversion, we find that he was born 8 days earlier than the date we celebrated – I suspect that the date we thought was his birthday was actually the day of his bris!

Advertisements