Saturday, December 27, 2014

Where are you from, Part II - or - Jewish Geography, anyone?

Remember when you went away to college, and your new neighbors in the dorm asked "Where are you from?"?   That was easy - you named your home town, and that was it.  I'm from Evanston, Illinois; here's a photo from my home town:

Ask me again why I moved to the Negev

Then you came to Israel, and when people asked "Where are you from?", you were an "American" [apologies to the Canadians, and the Mexicans, since we say American when we mean from the United States].

My [former] country tis of thee

Once you finally found LOGON and started coming to rehearsals, "Where are you from?" would again be more local - Ashkelon, Omer, Beer Sheva, the University [which is an entity separate from Beer Sheva, it would seem], Arad, a kibbutz, kishkeveldt......

Was going to post a map of Israel, but didn't want to get political, 
so here's a kitten 

HOWEVER - now we come to rehearsals for Fiddler on the Roof, and suddenly "Where are you from?" take on a whole new meaning -- where did your grandparents come from, or their grandparents - where is your family FROM?  This is about my 17th LOGON show, give or take an extravaganza or two, and never do i remember overhearing so many conversations about "back in the shtetle .....".  

So, dear readers, where are you FROM?  One of my grandparents came from Motele, same as Chaim Weitzman's family. My cousins claim that there was a strong strain of "genius" in Motele, but it sure as heck missed my family. 

 Photo credit:  Jeff Kronenberg

 Also Motele
Photo credit:

Another grandparent came from Mariempoler, somewhere between Minsk and Pinsk.  From there, we have two souvenirs. One is a joke, based on the fact that the town was in a border area often disputed by Poland and Russia:  One guy says, "I hear we've been conquered by Poland again", and the other replies "Thank goodness, enough of those Russian winters".   The other remnant of our roots there:  a certain melody interspersed between the chorus and verses of "Ki Lo Naeh", sung in four part harmony around the table at every family Seder.  Ay yai yai yai yai yai yai yai yai ayyyyyyy.  That's it, all that's left.......

Anyone else from one of these places?  Maybe we're related!  Feel free to write where you are from in the comments section below - who knows, we could end up finding long lost connections.  And don't try to tell me that you're from Kasrilivke, enough of your narishkeit!!!

PS - for performance and ticket information for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF:



  1. When I came to Israel in 1976 for two years on several different kibbutzim, everyone asked 'where are you from'. I answered 'Skokie, a suburb of Chicago'. After a while I just shortened it to Chicago. Then the Nazi Party decided they wanted to march in Skokie, Skokie refused, it got up to the U.S. Supreme Court and the JDL also became involved. All of a sudden it was international news. People still asked where I was from, I'd say 'Chicago', and they'd ask 'Is that anywhere near Skokie?'

    1. I grew up in South Africa but my dad's parents were all from a village in Lithuania ..and my Mom's dad was Czech and her mother was from Russia

    2. How eclectic! Do you know the names of any of the villages?

    3. unfortunately ...we are very bad at exact details - the Czechs...were all from prague and quite wealthy the russians and Lithuanians were all from little shtetles exactly like Anatevka - my mom says wherever they were they were not far from anatevka