My presentation was called: The Trotskys, the Bronsteins and the Kievskys: A Search for Identity in Russian-Jewish History. The talk focused on the lives of the “Bronsteins” – the average Jew of the Russian Empire, the “Trotskys” – the more integrated / Russified Jews that created the revolution, and the “Kievskys” – the resulting mix of Trotsky and Bronstein that would become the Jews of the Soviet Union.
Here, in the first of two excerpts from that evening, I explain the danger of what I call the Rus-holme Syndrome and why we may call ourselves Jews, ex-Soviet Jews, Russian Jews, Ukrainian Jews… but never “Russian.”
It was a pleasure to speak about the history of my family and the Jewish people to a group interested and dedicated to the topic. Many of the members themselves are researching their own old-world roots, although their families largely came in the late 1800s and early 1900s, just as the pogroms and revolutionary movements were escalating. If you’re at all interested in your Jewish roots, I strongly encourage you to visit the JGSLA website, check out their resources and attend an event.