How can I acknowledge to myself, yes, I've failed?
31.12.13 - 6.1.14
Birobidzhan, January 2nd 2014
This maybe the most difficult part for me to write. As I type down the words, my eyes will confirm what my deepest heart would want no more to know about. How can I acknowledge to myself, yes, I've failed?
My absolute purpose for visiting Birobidzhan was the Jewish culture. Nevertheless, I didn't carry my purpose seriously enough. I took it too easy that based on past experience, this time also I would be able, on my own, get what I'm for. To my disappointment, I found no brochure and such, let alone tourist information, at Birobidzhan Railway Station. Outside the station I looked around for any signs that even in Russian, might lead to a synagogue and the like. From Birobidzhan I continued to Khabarovsk feeling discontented. That feeling made me run through the internet to find out more about Birobidzhan -- as if I wanted to complete the missing parts of my journey. Just having been to, is never enough for me.
In the world of Google alone, I learned about the history of Jews in Russia. I couldn't belief myself reading about Stalin. Then I regretted myself even more. Had I done this before leaving for Birobidzhan, the Administrative Center of Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Russia, or also sometimes called "Jewish Autonomous Region"... I would have gained more than what I'm sharing now.
The Menorah at least confirmed that I was standing on a Jewish land. It was enough to make me thrilled.
Here's Birobidzhan Musical Theatre. Only two three people were seen around. As it's usually is around tall buildings, I had to force my way against the wind. But it's the freezing wind here. Then I had to mind my steps for the frozen ice on the ground. Thinking that it would be safer to be at the side of the marble steps in case I fall because there would be something to grab onto as not to slide down, I kept myself by the side of the steps. I didn't realize that a rough carpet had been spread in the middle of the steps to make it not slippery The carpet was barely seen because it was hidden under a blanket of snow.
I strongly assume this must be an open air stage. The dead silence buried under snow was kind of eery. In my mind I heard the bells and whistles, the cheers and claps, of summer time.
Certainly this is no Jewish thing. I've seen photos of such thing in Europe and China. Where did this belief started? I wonder whether it would matter if you do this with a padlock on your own gate at home?
Here you are, meet Sholem Aleichem.
How could I know it was Sholem Aleichem? Because, besides written under the statue itself, there was this information tablet. Do I read Russian? No. I typed the letters one by one into Google Translation. You can check the website, too. No English version of the content, but you can return the link to Google Translation. That's what I did.
This is what Fiddler does when he comes down the roof. Ahahaha... just kidding.
If you wish to witness more of the Jewish life in Birobidzhan, I recommend you view the video clip on Journey to Birobidzhan.
I was playing with my Lumia and snow when loud noise behind me broke the silence. What can that be!? I turned my head.
A campaign?? A strike??
Birobidzhan, it is larger than the present Israel. Lots of it are still forested. So was I told. Stay tuned. I still have little more to share about Birobidzhan.