In the photograph, I’m with my son Elkond Libman, his wife Elena, and my granddaughters Sofia and Elizaveta.
Elkond did well in his studies but was suddenly expelled in his third year. It turned out that he had told the teacher of Marxism and Leninism that he could pass this key university subject without attending the seminars. In response the teacher refused to permit him to take the examination in order to prove the importance of Marxism and Leninism seminars. Immediately after his dismissal, he was drafted into the army. He served in missile forces in Siberia, and came back with much of his hair missing. He still believes he was right and has no regrets of the years lost in the army. After he came back from the army, he returned to university and finished his third year. He was 25 years old and it was time to think about getting a job. At that time, there was a new Russian-language newspaper in Tallinn entitled Vecherni Tallinn and Elkond found employment as one of the editorial staff. He continued his university studies by correspondence and worked for this newspaper for quite a long time. He went through every step of the editorial ladder. Later, Elkond worked as a reporter for other Estonian papers and information agencies. At the moment, he is a reporter for the Delovye Vedomosti newspaper.
He has been working in the area of journalism for over 30 years now. Elkond also does a lot of translation work, mainly from Estonian into Russian. Our son married late, at 38. He went on a business trip to Tver and met Elena, his future wife, there. She worked in an organization for the protection of ancient monuments and studied history part-time at university. They got married in 1985, had a daughter, Sofia, in 1986, and another daughter, Elizaveta, a year later. Elena never finished her university studies: she works as a proof-reader for a Russian-language newspaper.
My granddaughters spent their first school years at the Tallinn Jewish school. It is a secular school, and the language of instruction is Russian, but Jewish history and traditions are studied extensively and Jewish holidays are celebrated. So the girls know all these things. When Sofia was in her fourth and Elizaveta in her third year, Elkond put them in a Russian school where, he believed, the core subjects were taught better. They have kept many of their friends from the Jewish school and seen them often, and Sofia returned to the Jewish school in her eleventh year. She is going there now in her twelfth year, but Elizaveta still goes to the Russian school. Elena is a Russian Orthodox. Naturally, she wants her children to know Christian traditions, too. So their family celebrates both Jewish and Christian holidays. They all visit me for the Jewish holidays and celebrate the Christian ones at home.