Local Russians toast
embrace the miracle.
Senior Copy Editor
Top: Gennadiy Shumulinskiy spoke passionately in
Russian about the meaning of the Festival of Lights.
12 / 13
Bottom: Russian Division committee members include
Michael Kuchersky, Tamara Friedman, Emmanuel
Gauzer, Eugene Sherizen, Izya Berman, Larisa
Abayev and Gennadiy Shumulinskiy.
hey feasted on potato latkes and imported
vodka, lit candles, mingled and danced.
But learning about the miracle of the
Maccabees could be considered the high
point of the evening.
About 100 of the 8,000 Jews who have immigrated
to Detroit from the former Soviet Union during the
past 30 years attended the first Chanukah party of the
Russian Division of the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit held Dec. 1 at the Jewish
Community Center in West Bloomfield.
"We were raised — four generations — totally igno-
rant," said Gennadiy Shumulinskiy of Oak Park, a
committee member of the 6-month-old Russian
Division. "We just didn't know anything about Judaism
except that we knew we were Jews."
Shumulinskiy took a few moments before the meno-
rah was lit to explain in Russian about the essence of
"We who came from Russia suffered religious perse-
cution like the Maccabees," Shumulinskiy said. "People
were forbidden from learning Torah — they were sent
to Siberia or punished. Now that we are free to do so, it
is incumbent on us to learn about our heritage."
Shumulinskiy said that just like the tiny vial of oil
that burned miraculously for eight days in the time of
the Maccabees, great accomplishments can flow from
He said the spark of Judaism in the Russian immi-
grants had the potential to grow into an eternal flame
of Jewish practice.
Shumulinskiy labeled the Russian Division's
Chanukah party — its second event ever — "a good
start to get a feel for the holiday. We are very pleased
that our people are starting to celebrate Jewish holidays.
"But education's not the only objective of the Russian
Division," he added. "One of our purposes is to get
Russian Jews who were helped by Federation to start
helping Federation to help others — and to get more
people involved in Jewish community life."
David Contorer, a Federation staff worker assisting
Russian Division, said that next on the agenda is a two-
to-three part series of lunch discussions at Federation
for Russian Jewish business owners.
"It will be about techniques for improving their busi-
nesses, bouncing ideas off each other," Contorer said.