Odessaphile: Jews in Odessa: a Story of Cultural Cross-Pollination

 
9780991853892: Odessaphile: Jews in Odessa: a Story of Cultural Cross-Pollination
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Odessa, the largest port on the Black Sea in Ukraine, became a unique cosmopolitan city in an ocean of traditionally isolated Russia. Why did all the residents of many ethnicities in Odessa, even those who were non-Jews, speak in the strong slang of Yiddish/Ukrainian/Russian mix sparkled with Italian, French, and English, in which all residents of Odessa insisted on communicating among themselves? Why do visitors of Odessa feel the impression of a Middle Eastern or European Mediterranean city and definitely not a Russian city? Why is Odessa the cradle of Reform Judaism, the Resistance Movement, Zionism, Yiddish literature, Klezmer music, and so many brilliant talents in many areas of the arts, literature, and science? Why are violinists from Odessa so famous worldwide? Why is Odessan humor world famous for its sarcasm? Was it not this humor that made the Jewish writers from Odessa internationally renowned? Why are Odessans so firm in their determination not to submit to Russian imperialism? What does Odessan Jewish culture have to do with it? Why is it a birthplace of Jewish resistance fighters: the National Committee of Jewish Self-Defence that were the groups formed of young secondary school students who singlehandedly protected the city residents from pogroms during periods of rebellion and revolution. This spirit of student resistance gave rise to the Bundists and the Social Democrats. Why only in Odessa were these new Maccabees protecting the Jewish population from pogroms while the Jews in the rest of the Pale of Settlement were decimated? Only in Odessa will you find the answers.

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