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I was born in Moscow, USSR into a Soviet Jewish family. As most Soviet Jews in those days, I grew up afraid to speak my last name for fear of being recognized a Jew, the most despised minority in the country. Kindergartens and schools didn’t discourage anti-Semitic remarks from both students and teachers and so Jewish children had to fend for themselves. The answer was to remain as invisible as one could possibly master.
Invisibility was the norm among the adults as well. My parents, their parents, their friends, uncles and cousins were nearly all engineers -- a profession that was dull, harmless and, most importantly for the Soviet government, safe enough to entrust to Jews. So for the lack of better opportunities, I also began to study engineering. When the changes of perestroika and glastnost swept through the Soviet Union and Jewish emigration rules were relaxed, I convinced my family to leave. After much discussion we left Moscow on October 19, 1989 – stripped of our Soviet citizenship, with six suitcases, and $180 to our names. Our departure proceeded the fall of the Berlin Wall only by three weeks.
Since my arrival I completed my education in the field that was as far from engineering as I could get. I’ve taken advantage of my freedom and I have worked and lived all over the world. And I finally took off my “invisibility” cloak and I decided to write about my experiences. In addition to the stories you see here, I was published as a contributor to Illuminations (www.Illuminationsbook.com) alongside such contributors as Julia Cameron, Marianne Williamson, Desmond Tutu, and others.