During the Fall 2016 semester, Noah Lapidus, an International Affairs major and Jewish Studies minor who received the Ruderman Scholarship in 2016, studied at Vilnius University in Lithuania. In addition to his studies, Lapidus also set out on a personal journey to visit the 21 towns where his ancestors had lived and to explore the remnants of Ashkenazi heritage in Eastern Europe. (To discover how Lapidus learned about his ancestors’ origins, click here.) Lapidus recounted his experiences in his daily blog, The Shtetl Shlepper: Noah Travels the Old Country, which provides a fascinating account of his exploration and those of so many other Jews whose families lived and died in that region. What follows is an excerpt from The Shtetl Shlepper that chronicles a road trip Lapidus made in Belarus accompanied by Grisha Abramovich, Chief Rabbi of the Progressive Jewish Community of Belarus. Here we follow Lapidus and Rabbi Abramovich on one day as they visit three of six Belarussian shtetls where Lapidus’ ancestors once lived.
DEC 20, 2016: THE TOWNS OF BREST, KOBRYN, DIVIN
We began our day in Brest, which lies along the Polish border in the southwestern corner of Belarus. We met with Regina Simonienko, chair of both the secular Jewish community and the Holocaust Memorial Fund in Brest. We met at the Nefesh House, which is filled with memorabilia from the long history of Jews in Brest.
Read the rest of the Spring 2017 Haverim Newsletter here.