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20-26 August 2001

  OFEK became a real festival for the whole Community of the city!

  The opening of the Festival took place in Hesed Faina. About 35 people - the clients of the Hesed and children of the Children Center of Art participated in it. Vladimir Lebedev, the director of Hesed made a welcoming speech. Hesed staff and the quests starting on their journey to the world of Jewish Book, drank some champagne and ate a big cake with a picture of the emblem of the Festival - a ship with sails made of book pages.

A great ship needs deep waters!
But do not forget about a quiet harbor,
About a harbor where somebody is waiting and loving you
Do not forget about Hesed Faina

Tamara Sattarova is introducing the poetess Yelena Axelrod( Israel) to the audience
Tamara Sattarova is introducing the poetess Yelena Axelrod( Israel) to the audience
The Children Center of Art is greeting the poetess
The Children Center of Art is greeting the poetess
Klezmer orchestra
Klezmer orchestra
The listeners listened very carefully
The listeners listened very carefully

  The first lecture of the festival was a lecture about Torah - the main Jewish book. Fanya Suponitskaya, the client of Hesed, read the lecture. During the year she conducted classes on weekly Torah chapters. The lecture summarized all given knowledge about the main book.

  21 August 2001 - is sorrowful day for all members of Jewish Community. A year ago died Vladlen Meyerovich Shuster, a journalist and a poet, one of the most active members of the Community. There was not even enough room for those who came to do homage to Vladlen Shuster's memory. The memorial candle was burning in front of his portrait, and Zitser said prayers about the diseased.

  His friends: Ctuchevskiy, Gofman, Klepikova, Kurdakov, Pleslov said a lot of warm words about Vladlen Shuster. His widow Maya Shuster thanked everybody for good memories about her husband and invited all to memorial repast in cafeteria.

  On 22 August there was the central event of the festival - the meeting with the poetess Yelena Axelrod. It took place in the Central City Library. About 55 poetry lovers gathered in the Poetry Club. Yelena Axelrod was greeted with cheers. Musician-klezmers played the piece "The rabbi told to have a fun". The conversation was free and easy; Yelena read her poems and answered questions, Klezmer ensemble played Jewish music, Yelena Kuklina, Hesed's employee read her poems. Nobody wanted to leave but time passed very fast and Yelena had to say good-bye to her readers, listeners and the city itself. At parting Yelena presented a book of her poems to the Hesed library.

  On 23 August there was the exhibition of old books from the storehouse of the Oblast ethnographical museum. The museum employee Nina Vladimirovna Krutova presented the exhibition. She has been collecting archive material about the life of Jews in pre-revolutionary period for a long time; so, she read a lecture about this. The listeners were very interested in way of life, clothes, cuisine of Jews in 19th century. Hesed's employees asked Nina vladimirovna to read a lecture in Semipalatinsk Community.

  All festival days were very interesting and full of events. But it was approaching the end and the last day was Sunday 26 August. The exhibition of the books of the Hesed library and Oblast library was opened at 11 AM in The Assemble Hall of The Library named after Alexander Pushkin. Tamara Sattarova the employee of Hesed Faina reviewed new books of Jewish library, and the head of Oblast library and leading specialist Olga Potapova  - library stock of oblast library.

  There was a tasting of dishes of Jewish cuisine in the lobby of the library. Invitees ate matsa, fish and got booklets with recipes of Jewish national dishes, cooked by Hesed's clients. Klezmer quartet of Hesed Faina accompanied the tasting.

  The Chairman of the Board Naum Isaakovich Stuchevskiy and Rufina Boguslavskaya, the coordinator of Community Programs in Almaty made speeches. The participants of the meeting shared their impressions about the festival, spoke favorably about Hesed's events, tried to give advices about what can be done to improve future festivals.

  The program of the festival finished on Sunday evening with a big concert on stage of the oblast drama theatre; there were about 300 people there.

  The members of the Community of different ages performed in it: children vocal group "Feigale", Hesed's clients sang song "The Blue Ball", Klezmer quartet played music, Hesed singers both professional and dilettantes sang. For instance, Irina Khardina is a music teacher, yakov Gertsman is a lawyer, and Yelena Saldina is a doctor. The dance group performed several Jewish dances. Tatyana zakharova and Tamara Sattarova performed a short sketch "In a car" (by Nadezhda Teffi). And all the participants of the concert came to the stage to sing the final song "The promised land". Many listeners shed tears.

  After the concert there was refreshment.

Tamara Sattarova
Photo by Natalya Lebedeva

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