Identity of young Jewish Ukrainians

Kyiv, Ukraine


1. Where were you born, where your parents were born?

Nastya: I was born in town Snezhnoje, Donetsk region, Ukraine. My mother was born in the same place. My father was born in the village of Keba Arkhangelsk Region, Russia.

Igor:  I was born in Kirovsk, Lugansk region,  my mother was born in Lugansk, father in Kiev.

Marina: In Ukraine

Igor F.:  I was born in Kiev, my parents were born in Vinnitsa region.

2. What is your relation to the Ukraine?

Nastya: I grew up in the Ukraine, I live here, my family lives here and many of my friends as well.

Igor: Now it’s everything. At the moment, everything connects me with Ukraine : family, friends, school. The wish to live here is also very important.

Marina: Relatives, close friends, property

Igor F.:My friends.  More than twenty years of my life, family and memory.

3. What means for you to live in Ukraine?

Nastya:It is complicated, but good country. However, I assume that I can leave it one time.

Igor: I love this country, but I’m afraid that soon there will not be a normal life here.

Marina:  Close friends and loved ones. People

Igor F.: To be together with those who were here before and suffer from the state …

4. What language do you use at home?

Nastya: Russian.

Igor: Russian, sometimes Ukrainian.

Marina: Russian, Ukrainian

Igor F.:  Russian and Ukrainian

5. Which holidays you celebrate?

Nastya:  If you mean Jewish, I celebrate the Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah, but I don’t observe all the traditions.

Igor:  If you mean Jewish holidays, I celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Passover

Marina: Jewish, Christian

Igor F.: Russian and Ukrainian

6. Do you follow the news from Israel?

Nastya: I try to follow.

Igor: Sometimes.

Marina: Sometimes

Igor F.: Yes, of course

7. Do many of your friends live in Israel?

Nastya: More then 10.

Igor: My best friend and a lot of my relatives

Marina: No

Igor F.: A lot of.

8. What books do you read, what movies do you watch?

Nastya: I like the Russian classics of the 20th century: Esenin, Dovlatov,  I enjoy reading folktales from the worldwide. From the Jewish literature I read Sholom Aleichem, Shmuel Agnon, Dina Rubina, I like the work of Lenore Goralik.I like  Hasidic tales. I like movies  that touch the soul: a melodrama, something psychological. Among the most favorite: “The Hours” and “The Reader.”

Igor: Adventures, criminal novels, thrillers, and philosophical literature.

Marina: Classical literature, modern prose. In music I prefer rock

Igor F.:  Books for my job, books, that somebody recommended. I like premieres,  historical and Israeli movies

9. What do you think about the Arab-Israeli conflict?

Nastya:  I have the right position on this issue. I’m pretty close with Beitar CIS. And I share the ideology of this organization to Arab-Israeli conflict.

Igor: What is there to think about? Arab countries can not accept the fact that Israel is a much more developed country than they all are together.

Marina: It’s complicated question,  I am for the peace

Igor F.:  I think nothing, because everything is decided already …. Well, I’m against Arabs in Israel …


 Lviv, Ukraine

Nazar Oleksandr

What is your name? Where are you from and where are your parents from?

 Oleksandr:  My name is Oleksandr Nazar, now I’m chairman of the Sholem Aleichem Jewish Culture Society. My mother was born in Lviv, in Jewish family and my father was born in the village Rozluch, near Turka, Lviv region, he is Ukrainian.

What is your relation to Ukraine?

Oleksandr:  I think there are a lot of relations. I was born here, it is actually my land. Every summer I went to the village, to Rozluch, I have a lot of Ukrainian friends. I think it is a part of me.

Tell, please, about your family. What holidays do you celebrate during the year?

Oleksandr:  We celebrate New Year, I mean December 31. My grandfather, for example, visits synagogue every Saturday, he observes Saturday. My father celebrates all Ukrainian holidays, he observe lents and so on. My mom doesn’t observe Judaism so much, but my grandfather does it. We usually observe Jewish lents at home. During Pesach There is no bread or flour, or we do not use them. We keep them somewhere. We celebrate Jewish feasts, and dad celebrates Christian holidays. But all the family comes together for the New Year. We have also a tradition to go to my dad, in Rozluch for Christmas, January 6. It is very important for my dad to be together with all family for the Christmas Eve in Rozluch. His ancestry origins from there. Dad goes to the Church and we take part in Christmas supper. Also he asks us to come for the Easter. Sometimes we cannot eat bread, because it’s still Pesach, so we wait till Monday. Our presence is important for him, he doesn’t want father’s house to be empty.

Do you follow news from Israel?

Oleksandr: Yes, I do, but in other way that media tries to show it. The country is always in state of war, but I’m  rather interested in the cultural aspect. In our society we have newspaper “Shofar”, so we try to follow news that concern Israel and Ukraine. There are a lot of cultural events, some people come from Israel to Lviv. Last week there were three visitors. Yael Bartana came for the Arsenal in Kyiv (Art Fair M.V.). I liked he movie, that one that tells Jews to come back to Poland.  David Grossman, the author of the novel “Someone to Run With” participated in Bruno Schulz Festival.  I’m very interested in people that are coming in Ukraine from Israel. I like modern art, cinema, photographers, artists. I liked photography “The Last Supper” with Israeli soldiers. I think Ukrainian art can take a lot from Israeli art, and Israel can take something from Ukraine. I have had an idea: Lviv is sister city to Rishon leZion and we can make two exhibitions. One in Lviv about Rishon leZion, and another in Rishon leZion, but not about touristic Lviv, rather about something unexplored.

Prepared by
Moskalets Vladyslava
Ovcharova Liliya

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