Shalom! My name is Dmitry, and I am 20 years old. I currently live in New York, but I was born in Kishinev, the capital of Moldova, where I lived until I came to the U.S.
My name is Dmitry, and I am 20 years old. I currently live in New York, but I was born in Kishinev, the capital of Moldova, where I lived until I came to the U.S. When I was 13, I couldn’t stand any more “jokes” from the students in the Russian school, and I decided to go to Jewish School # 15 — the Chabad-Lubavitch school. It had been open just a year when I started, and so I was one of the first students. As soon as I came to school, every student in my class became my friend. All the teachers were friendly and nobody raised his voice, and because almost all of the classes were small, the teachers could give us individual attention. I also started to learn a few new subjects, like Hebrew, Jewish tradition, and Jewish history. In the U.S. buses are nothing, but for Kishinev it was a very big deal. Our school had its own buses, so all the students could get to school and home from all the boroughs of Kishinev without needing to use public transportation. None of the schools in Kishinev had any kind of transportation except Jewish school #15. Another special thing is that all of our students got free lunches (some even received breakfast, too). In 1994 ten of us (from grades 5-9) went to Moscow for winter camp “Gan Yisroel.” It was Pesach time and there were many young people from all over the CIS, and I made some new friends. Then, in May of that year, because of my high grades, I was chosen to go to Moscow again to participate in the Olympic Games in Jewish history and tradition. My teacher, Boris Shafir, was really proud of me (and by the way, he is the best teacher I ever had), and I was proud of myself, too. It was a great experience!
I was also a member of the school choir. In honor of every Jewish holiday the choir leader, Anna Ferenz, made a show, which was held in one of the famous halls in Kishinev. The years I studied in the Jewish school were the best of all my school years! Thanks to this&school I was able to learn the history, traditions and language of the Jews, which are also my own. I never had the chance to learn about my heritage before, because of the Communists. There is one more thing I want to mention and that is my experience on the Maccabe soccer team, which was sponsored by the Jewish Computer Center. We practiced very hard and hardly ever lost. Finally, on March 28, 1995, my teammates, together with the Maccabe team from Tiraspol, went to Kharkov, Ukraine, to the Maccabeade. After a whole week of competition, my team took third place among all the soccer teams of the entire CIS. We were very proud, because by winning third place, we earned the chance to participate in the Maccabeade in Holland in 1996. Unfortunately, I left Moldova and came to New York in 1995 and never had a chance to play in Holland. The chance I got to learn about being Jewish, though, is something which will stay with me always.