Jewish Identity, Decision to Leave,
“We were not very religious, our family. Mom’s family was quite religious and she said that her mother would light candles on Friday, but for some reason, I don’t know why, my mother did not. But even though we weren’t religious, we were always Jewish. And religion, in my mind, was not, you know, a way to show that you are Jewish. It was more the way you were born, and you were a Jew by birth, and it was something special, and it was a good feeling, which we kids suffered, but we would never give!
“I intend to work until I can’t walk. So the attitude about life I like here more. I found that women here look much better in age than women in Russia. Over 50 you are an old woman there. You are-period-old. You’ve done it; that’s it. Your life is gone. And here I think that women look after themselves and so on. And I like it. see American women and I say, ‘That’s how I want to be.’ I look at some older women at 70, how they sparkle, fit, their intonation. An old lady, you would see her dressed with a hat. She was beautiful. And I said, ‘That’s how I want to be.”’
- Celia Perelman
“When I was a little girl, about eight, maybe seven, I remember my relatives always talked about Israel, about emigration, because some of their friends and family had already gone. They received letters from them, and this theme-leaving-was always on their tongUes. They talked a lot about it, but never did anything. It was like the favorite topic in our family, but nobody would ever leave! Then, when I grew up and got married and started to meet with other Jewish people, I began to understand more, and my husband and I made the decision to leave the country.”
For me, to be Jewish was…mostly nationality. I felt that I was Jewish but it didn’t connect with any religion. My parents had a lot of Jewish friends, so I was growing up with this…! can’t tell when I was interested more or less in Jewish people …it was always with me.”
- Lyubov Royzenfeld