On Sunday, I went to see Aleksander Gorodnitsky, well known amongst Russian speaking people song writer, poet, and scientist. He is very talented and very modest.
He was telling us some stories about his life, about his songs and poems. He sang, recited poems and then showed a movie that he recently created called “In search of Yiddish” «В ПОИСКАХ ИДИША».
The movie was a great documentary about him searching for his family roots in Belorussia. He found that there are no Jews left in the shtetles that used to be heavily populated with Jewish people in 19th and beginning of 20th century, who spoke mainly Yiddish. The movie made me cry and laugh.
It raised a question about this language Yiddish, where did it come from? Why Chasidic Jews speak it today? Apparently it was forbidden in Israel because they wanted everyone to learn Hebrew instead.
Thinking about his trip to Belorussia where he found 1 or 2 or 4 elderly Jews who still lived in those rural areas gave me somewhat weird feeling. I was trying to understand if it is sad or not that Jews don’t live there anymore.
Of course it is very sad that thousands died during the WWII in those towns, but the rest of the people moved to bigger cities, to USA, Israel, Germany, Australia and other countries.
I was even thinking and trying to draw parallels, would it be interesting to go to Egypt after Jews fled in exodus and explore if there are any Jews left and what is left of their culture?
This thought was even more obvious when Gorodnitsky recited a poem about his life and which geographic area is his home. Unfortunately I forgot the name of the poem and couldn’t find it. For about 30 years of his life he traveled in expeditions all overt he world. He continues to travel a lot but has not made a decision to immigrate. He still resides in St Petersburg Russia.
The two poems really stood out were Родство по слову and Монолог Моисея
( Read poems (in Russian) and watch short video... )