Interviewee: Dina Orlova
Title: Dina Orlova with her children
Place and Date: Chernovtsy, Ukraine - 1970
This is me and my children after a parade on 1st May. The woman in the background is just a passer-by. The photo was taken in the central park in Chernovtsy in 1970.
My daughter Svetlana was born in 1964, and my son Vladimir in 1966. He was circumcised. Our children were raised Jewish. We spoke Russian in the family, but we also taught the children Yiddish. They knew Jewish traditions and observed Jewish holidays with us. My husband taught our son the traditional four questions [the mah nishtanah] to be asked at seder on Pesach. My husband didn't go to the synagogue at that time because the practice of religiosity was punished by the authorities.
My husband worked a lot to provide for the family. I also worked and took care of the household. We often had guests; my husband and I liked guests. Mostly we had Jewish friends visiting. We celebrated both Jewish and Soviet holidays. 9th May, Victory Day, was the best holiday ever! Every year on Victory Day we thanked God for our survival. On other holidays we just got together with friends for a party and to have a good time. We used to have up to 30 guests on every holiday. My husband liked singing Jewish songs on Jewish and Soviet holidays. We invited our Jewish friends on Jewish holidays. I made traditional Jewish food. I've always liked cooking and make delicious food: gefilte fish, chicken broth, chicken neck stuffed with liver and fried onions and strudels. On Purim I make hamantashen. On Pesach there's matzah at home and we follow all rules celebrating this holiday.
After finishing school my daughter wanted to study at the Medical Institute. There was a big competition at Chernovtsy Medical Institute. Besides, they didn't admit Jews. She went to Leningrad but failed at three exams and returned to Chernovtsy. Svetlana went to work at the Electronmach factory. She became fond of electronics. She studied at Chernovtsy University by correspondence and upon graduation continued to work at the factory as an engineer.
My son passed all entrance exams to the Medical Institute, but he wasn't admitted there either. Vladimir finished a trade school and went to serve in the army. After demobilization from the army he worked at a plant for a short time and then entered a dentistry school in Beltsy. He finished it with honors and became a dental technician. He had also finished a music school when he was in secondary school. He learned to play the violin. He entered the Music Academy in Kamenets-Podolsk and finished it with honors. When he returned to Chernovtsy, Vladimir began to work with the Jewish Cultural Association, which was opened in the late 1980s.