Anti-Semitism, Working, Starting Over

Polina Tylevich  .jpeg

“My mother used to tell me, ‘You shouldn’t be ashamed of being Jewish.’ If it is put to you that way, you feel that people take it as something wrong, and it is a confusing situation. You shouldn’t be ashamed of it, but at the same time there must be something wrong if people expect you to be ashamed of it.”

“I used to read a lot, and even though many Russian magazines are available here through a wonderful library, I can’t let myself spend time reading Russian, but must force myself to read English-and that takes a long time. So there is a gap and there is a feeling that I am missing something. And there is no circle of colleagues or friends with whom to argue or talk about issues. Luckily I can discuss things with Sasha and argue with him, but that’s another story.”

- Polina Tylevich

Batya Sokolovskaya  .jpeg

“I can’t think of anything at all as irritating! Moving to a new country is like getting born again. I think it’s easiest for the children who are starting everything here-it’s wonderful for them-but there isn’t very much left for me to do at my age. I get the most joy now watching my grandchildren grow up here. For the middle generation, of course, it’s hard because they have to build a new life. It’s good that they don’t lose heart, they work hard…but it will take years for things to work out.

As a dentist I admire the sophisticated equipment and the calm atmosphere in which American dentists work. We had a very different environment in Russia. We were required to cover many cases-the numbers were always more important than the quality. I could talk endlessly about this… I used to work in dental surgery, and even nowif I have to open a can or something, I use force even with things that don’t require it.”

- Batya Sokolovskaya