Photo taken in:KievYear when photo was taken:1975Country name at time of photo:USSRCountry name today:Ukraine
This photo of me was taken in Kiev in 1975 on my 47th birthday. I defended my diploma in 1949. I worked in the Sanitary Engineering Department of the Ukrpromproject Design Company in Kiev. I was senior engineer. Our house was removed under the general construction plan of Kiev. My father's brother Leonid and his wife and we received two separate two-room apartments in Nivki, a distant neighborhood in Kiev. These were two neighboring apartments and they made another door connecting these two apartments. They were small apartments but we were very happy to have them. We often had guests. We celebrated Soviet and Jewish holidays. My mother became the guardian of Jewish traditions in our family after my grandmother died. She began to arrange family gatherings at Jewish holidays. Our whole family got together on Yom Kippur and Pesach. My father's sister, Aunt Riva, came from Moscow every year to spend Pesach with us. Mother made traditional Pesach food. She took her chickens to the shochet at Podol. My father went to synagogue on all the holidays. There was one synagogue on Schekavitskaya Street in Kiev. I don't remember anybody praying at home. They all prayed at the synagogue. We bought a lot of matzah, although I took plain sandwiches with bread to work. Our family fasted on Yom Kippur. In the 1970s Jews began moving to Israel. We were very sympathetic to them. We were also thinking about emigration. My father was willing to go. But the circumstances were such that we couldn't leave. My wife Maria's sister was very ill and we couldn't leave her alone. I continued to work after I retired. My pension was too small, and I had to earn extra money. In the late 1980s the whole sanitary engineering group of which I was the manager moved to Israel. I got a job offer from the Yuzhgiprostroy where I worked at the beginning of my career. I accepted this offer and that's where I work now. Over the past 10 years Jewish life in Ukraine has become more active. I can't say that I'm far removed from these activities, but I rarely get involved in them. I receive food from Hesed and I appreciate their efforts. My co-student and close friend Henry Filvarov is an activist in the Jewish movement. He keeps me posted on all Jewish events. I appreciate his care. Henry is vice-president of the Jewish Heritage Institute which is involved with the Jewish Heritage Restoration Program funded by Jerusalem. Filvarov is program manager. I prepare materials for this program and take an active part in its implementation. We issue descriptions of buildings that previously belonged to Jewish communities: synagogues, schools, hospitals, etc. We have issued descriptions of over 100 facilities. I'm very happy to participate in this noble mission.