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26 August 2001

The second time in its lifetime Aktobe Jewish Community has conducted OFEK. That day in the building of Drama Theatre was warmed with a lot of smiles.

- Shalom! - Greeted visitors each other. - Thank you for inviting us here. Now we can feel like a big family, - said the old people to our organizers. Many of us came to the festival from the other end of the city. We are given occasion to share news: "Did you read the last number of "Davar"? There was a lot of information about us. What? You haven't seen it yet? Read it, please. "They say my grandson is very talented". "And my granddaughter's picture was so good that it was displayed at an exhibition".

Somebody is telling about the last letter from Israeli relatives. 5 years old boy keeps setting his kipa straight (his parents explained to him that all Jewish men should wear kipa, and he is very proud of that).

- Dad, is that Holy Torah you told me about? - He is asking looking at the picture "The greatness of festival" by Nadya Shmaratova. And next to it "grows" "The Alive tree" by Olya Vinogradova, blossoms out "The Peony" by Christina Zilberman and "Shabbat" by Alyona Massyk beams with candles.
 - Look here! Look at this! - He is pulling his parents by the sleeve to the stand with the articles made of clay: cats, a crocodile that is not scary at all, a bear, a bit clumsy turtle and even a mushroom with bulbous nose. Children carefully modeled all of them especially for this exhibition. Now they are looking over the articles pretending to be experts and trying to judge them. They think they know a lot of things about clay even though it did not obey them a short time ago and turn to statuettes.

People sitting in the hall looked through the applets. And now the music started and the presenter of the program Irina Kopyto is saying: "Hello everybody! You are welcome to the annual Community festival of Jewish book. We are together again. Thanks everybody who helped to prepare it, to decorate the hall, the exhibition, and thank you for not forgetting that we are all Jews.

The speakers who had to open the first part of the festival are nervous. Irina Soboleva spoke about Jewsh phenomenon and historical conception of Lev Gumilyov, birth of Jewish people and their culture. Jews managed to remain despite of persecution and living in spiritual ghetto. The representatives of Jewish people developed science and culture. Alexander Malkin made a report about Jewish upbringing. The unique experience for 4 thousand years of Jewish history can be expressed just in a few words from Torah: "Do not do to your neighbor what you do not want him to do to you". Simple and wise words, they were brought through the centuries and imbibed by every Jew with mother's milk. Perhaps, these words are the clue to what scientists call "Jewish phenomenon".

Alevtina Ioffe, a teacher of Hebrew, spoke about this language - the foundation of all Jewish culture and tradition. Studying Hebrew makes all of us responsible for saving Jewish culture and tradition. During Soviet times it was impossible to study Hebrew. For the most Soviet people it was kind of "dead" languages. It cannot be allowed any more and we should take care of it.

The next was performance was the performance of the theatre "Dimyen" (Fantasy) under the direction of Zhanna Prokhorenko. Everybody enjoyed their performance. The adult amateurs theatre under the direction of Polina Savitskaya presented a short play by Sholom Aleikhem "The Kingdom of Heaven". The subject of this play is very simple - an elderly couple wants to buy some eternal life in store. And some swindlers decided to cheat them. The show was very funny and actors were warded with applause.

Of course, the ensemble "Atikva" participated in the festival. The audience enjoyed songs "Amen" and "Tishmor aolyam aelet" performed by Tatyana Nazarova.

The first time the instrumental jazz ensemble "Kamerton" performed Jewish melodies at OFEK. They played the potpourri of Jewish songs prepared especially for OFEK. German Krassilnikov commentated their performance.

- We will be waiting for the new festivals, - said people at parting. - We will keep its warm for a long time.

Dmitriy Matveyev

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