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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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Ukraine History

The Ukrainian Roots of Sholem Aleichem

Fiddler on the Roof changed the way the world viewed Jewish life at the beginning of the 19th century in Eastern Europe. Based on the tales of Tevye the Milkman, it was the longest-running Broadway musical for nearly 10 years, and among dozens of other plays, short stories and novels, it helped save a place in literary history for its Ukrainian Yiddish author, Sholem Aleichem.

Sholem Aleichem was born Sholem Naumovich Rabinovich to a Hasidic family in 1859, in what is known today as Pereyaslav Khmelnitsky. Growing up in the nearby shtetl of Voronko, life under the Russian monarchy was one of social and political upheaval. Despite this, his childhood was one suffused with happy-go-lucky experiences of village life, with both settings proving to have a huge impact on the aspiring young playwright later in life.

Peace Be With You
Sholems life from a young age was not an easy one: his father was a rich timber merchant at the time of his birth, however, a failed business affair would see the family reduced to poverty. Hoping to overcome their reduced circumstances, the family moved to Pereyaslav Khmelnitsky when Sholem was 13, where his mother died in a cholera epidemic.
He was quick to dive into writing, however, putting together a glossary of epithets as his first writing assignment. Not long after, at the age of just 15, he produced a Jewish version of Robinson Crusoe, which was also, incidentally, when he adopted his pen name Sholem Aleichem the Jewish variant of the Hebrew expression peace be with you.
Graduation from school in 1876 turned into a job tutoring the daughter of a wealthy landowner for three years, which saw Sholem asking for Olga Loyevs hand in marriage. Against the wishes of her father, they married on 12 May 1883. It was a UNI0N that would produce six children.
This, however, was subsequent to Sholem first making a name for himself as a writer. According to various sources, his father was quite an advocate of secular trends and encouraged him to read and learn Russian, which came in handy later on when he worked as a reporter for an Odesa newspaper, a Russian Jewish periodical in St Petersburg called Voskhod and was called upon to edit various texts by well-known writers Lev Tolstoy and Anton Chekov.

From Rags To Riches And Back Again
It was around this time Sholem stumbled upon an edition of the only Yiddish periodical in Russia at the time Yudishes Folks-blat. Believing the Yiddish language to be one in great demand, he put pen to paper and soon had his first Yiddish novella in hand, one that fictionalised his romance with Olga, called Tsvey Shteyner (Two Gravestones).
Moving to Bila Tserkva the year he and Olga married, Sholem worked for a sugar magnate, completing his first full-length novel Natashe shortly thereafter. Just two years later, with the death of his father-in-law and Sholem the sole trustee of the estate, the young writer was to become a relatively rich man. A move to Kyiv was imminent. His hobby of dabbling in the stock market would soon prove costly, however, and by 1890 he was bankrupt. Abandoning their apartment in Kyiv, the family headed for Odesa their new life was not the one of bourgeoisie luxuries to which they had become accustomed.

The Great Yehupets
These next few years took their toll. However, having helped elevate Yiddish into a literary language (an interesting ambition as he did not speak Yiddish: with his family he spoke Russian or Ukrainian and admired the works or various Russian writers, such as Ivan Turgenev), Sholem continued producing characters his readers loved. One of those was Tevye a milkman supplying inhabitants of Boyre, a summer colony not far from the great Yehupets (Kyiv). By 1905, four of the nine stories to complete the Tevya series were written.
Finding it hard to continually come up with new ideas and stories, Sholem turned to the stage, hoping to open a Yiddish theatre in Odesa after the successful staging of one of his plays in Poland. As was the case with nearly any initiative at the time, the Russian authorities would not allow it; paranoid it would be used as a cover for revolutionary activity.
Pogroms in 1905 and the Russian Revolution signalled the exodus of Sholem and his family from Eastern Europe, with Olga and the children settling in Geneva, Switzerland. Sholem set sail for New York where he was greeted by the press as the Jewish Mark Twain. Unfortunately, his newfound celebrity status went to his head, and after two theatrical flops, he returned to Europe, making a living as a lecturer. He was very popular.
But it wasnt to last: intent on making a name for himself in New York, the entire family, save two children Misha, who was denied entrance into the US due to tuberculosis and his sister Emma who remained behind to care for him relocated to Lower East Manhattan in 1914. Misha died one year later. Sholem too, having contracted the disease during a book tour through Eastern Europe years earlier, died on 13 May 1916 of tuberculosis and diabetes. But not before impressing upon the world his brilliance and the importance of Yiddish literature through his writings.

Sholem Aleichem Tidbits
Upon hearing Sholem describe himself as the Jewish Mark Twain, Twain replied, Please tell him I am the American Sholem Aleichem
The Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, based on Sholems Tevye the Milkman and Other Stories, opened in 1964 and was the longest-running musical theatre production for nearly 10 years
Sholem had a mortal fear of the number 13. The number never appears in his manuscripts, numbering the page instead 12a. Ironically, he died on the 13th: his headstone carrying the date May 12a, 1916
Sholems funeral was one of the largest at the time in the history of New York City with an estimated 100,000 in attendance
One of Sholems sons, Norman Raeben became a painter and influential art teacher
A monument to Sholem Aleichem was erected here in Kyiv in 1997
A postage stamp and an anniversary coin bearing his face was issued in Ukraine in 2009 on the 150th anniversary of his birth.

by Lana Nicole

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Comments (9)
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Isabel | 20.07.2013 10:09

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Isabel | 20.07.2013 10:09

My feelings ectxaly. Speaking of which, what do you think of Pitom? It's a new jazz-rock trio on Tzadik and they've released an album recently. I'd be really interested to hear your take on this. http://whrimspgdqi.com [url=http://zmuqxtdopo.com]zmuqxtdopo[/url] [link=http://jmbvulacia.com]jmbvulacia[/link]

Isabel | 20.07.2013 10:09

My feelings ectxaly. Speaking of which, what do you think of Pitom? It's a new jazz-rock trio on Tzadik and they've released an album recently. I'd be really interested to hear your take on this. http://whrimspgdqi.com [url=http://zmuqxtdopo.com]zmuqxtdopo[/url] [link=http://jmbvulacia.com]jmbvulacia[/link]

Fareeha | 20.07.2013 02:44

Thank you for spreading the word!Unfortunately, I don't speak Portuguese. I just want to say that we owe it to the viimcts to ensure that the Holodomor will never ever be repeated.??????????? ?????'?????, ?????? ?????????.Ukraine remembers, the world acknowledges.

Fareeha | 20.07.2013 02:44

Thank you for spreading the word!Unfortunately, I don't speak Portuguese. I just want to say that we owe it to the viimcts to ensure that the Holodomor will never ever be repeated.??????????? ?????'?????, ?????? ?????????.Ukraine remembers, the world acknowledges.

Fareeha | 20.07.2013 02:44

Thank you for spreading the word!Unfortunately, I don't speak Portuguese. I just want to say that we owe it to the viimcts to ensure that the Holodomor will never ever be repeated.??????????? ?????'?????, ?????? ?????????.Ukraine remembers, the world acknowledges.

Kimy | 17.07.2013 18:03

with this president Ukraine canot join the European UNI0N and NATO they will stay with Russia but they will not help Ukraine .Russia is only using Ukraine for theyr mtiilary base in Sevastopol .

Kimy | 17.07.2013 18:03

with this president Ukraine canot join the European UNI0N and NATO they will stay with Russia but they will not help Ukraine .Russia is only using Ukraine for theyr mtiilary base in Sevastopol .

Kimy | 17.07.2013 18:02

with this president Ukraine canot join the European UNI0N and NATO they will stay with Russia but they will not help Ukraine .Russia is only using Ukraine for theyr mtiilary base in Sevastopol .


 
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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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