Ukraine SIG #Ukraine Sense of place, sense of people #ukraine


Michelle Frager <lulu_brooks@...>
 

Dear Tom Chatt and Genners:

In my family, the self-proclaimed Litvaks (maternal side) and
Galitzianers (paternal side) came >from Belarus and Podolia
respectively. But they deeply perceived themselves in those cultural
terms - which had ceased to have geographical significance as borders
moved around. They insulted or complimented each other on those
cultural bases. Not just "pitter" v. "putter" (butter), but
intelligent versus stupid, sensitive versus unaware, well-read versus
ignorant, socially adept versus gauche klutz. I recall that among the
older folks, who'd lived in the Russian Empire for some part of their
lives, this feud sometimes was carried to remarkabl levels of emotion
that might leave scars, but happily it was more often good-natured
kibbutzing.

Also, parts of the extended Podolian family lived to the west in
Romania and Bessarabia, while the Belarus family had some roots in
"Litte" or Lithuania. So theirs was very definitely a cultural and
historic Jewish community sense, not one based on the external,
mutable, Christian borders.

Michelle Frager, NY area


--- Tom Chatt <tomchatt@earthlink.net> wrote:
<snip>
I'm wondering is it possible that people in this western edge of
Russian
Empire could have thought of themselves as Galician, even though
not within
the official borders, because of close ties between the various
towns? Would
they have had a sense of themselves as the same "people"?

I have heard many people describe how even among Jews, there was a
sense of
different ethnic identities, and that there were differences in
traditions
and practices between some of these groups. Galicianers would see
themselves
as distinct >from Litvaks, for example.

So, I'm wondering what sense of ethnic identity did the Jews of
Podolia and
Volhynia have? (I've certainly never heard anyone describe
themselves as
Podolian or Volhynian - these were, I think, just arbitrary
guberniyas whose
borders moved around.)
<snip>

Any insights into this?

Tom Chatt
Los Angeles, CA

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