All Posts Tagged ‘Russian


Russian Jewish Romance



My internet friend Alina (and frequent commenter here) wrote a short story for a romance anthology (which you can buy now, here).  (Disclaimer: I got a copy to read for free). Here’s the press release:

They say “write what you know.”  And that’s just what author Alina Adams (born Alina Sivorinovsky in Odessa, USSR) did when asked to contribute a short story for the anthology “The Mammoth Book of ER Romance” (Running Press September 2013).

Instead of sticking to traditional, all-American characters like she had for her previous “New York Times” best-selling books, including “Oakdale Confidential” and “Jonathan’s Story,” Adams created possibly the first-ever romance featuring a Russian Jewish heroine, whose decisions – in life and in love – stem directly from her non-traditional background and upbringing.

Adams explains, “I wanted to do something different with my story, “To Look For You,” and feature a character unique to romantic fiction.  Like me, Alyssa Gordon was born in the USSR, grew up in America, and never felt like she belonged completely to either place.  Throw in being Jewish on top of that, and I’d never encountered a similar type of character while reading romance.  I figured I might as well be the first to create one and explore how being a Russian Jew in the States affects who you fall in love with.”

I personally will never admit that I read romance novels, but this story is at the intersection of Russian Jews, hypochondria, perfectionism, war, and men who are really, really clean, which is probably why Alina thought of me.  There were a couple of things I was always really curious about with regards to romance writing, so I asked her:


Why do Eastern European women love leather and fur?


While Mr. B and I were in New Orleans, it was cold. Super-cold. Cold enough that we hadn’t planned for it. Isn’t the South always supposed to be perma-warm like that spot on the floor that always gets the sun?

Long story short, we had to buy clothes on vacation.

First things first. Oh, the irony:

Then, for five seconds, this was an option:

Until I realized I had become every woman I see at the Russian store. And I became terrified.

Why do Russian women love fur? What is it that brings out the fur coats, the fur collars, the leather?  And why do American women hate them?

I’m guessing it has something to do with this:

Although I’m too lazy to research. So I’m crowd-sourcing.

 Also, I did find this:


His dad was Baryshnikov, the movie was pure nostalgia in a bottle


Play this as you read:



“In 1986, I wanted two things. Freedom and meat. There was a deficit on meat. And there was a deficit on freedom, too,” begins the quirky  2011 movie My Dad is Baryshnikov (мой папа барышников), which Mr. B and I saw last night at the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival.  ”Although,” the adult narrator continues to remember, “it was exactly in this year that we first heard of a word called perestroika.”


Mr. B and I plant a tree


Van Gogh, Peasant Man and Woman Planting Potatoes

 Mr. B and I have been wanting to plant a tree for a LONG time. Well, it’s more accurate to say that I’ve wanted to plant a tree.   Mr. B has not been pushing as hard since he realized he would be doing a majority of the planting.




A cover of a song has never made me cry. Until this one:

Original song, Molitva, The Prayer, by Bulat Okudzhava, peoples’ poet.

Everyone loves Okudzhava, but I hate his irritating singing voice, which he probably would have agreed with, as he refused to acknowledge his singing and playing in favor of his beautiful poetry.

Regina Spektor transforms this song into something raw and desperate.

Translated beautifully into rhyming English by Alec Vagapov with a few tweaks by me:

While the earth still turns, and while the light is bright,
Oh Lord, please give everyone what he or she hasn’t got.
Give the timid a horse to ride, give the wise a bright head,
Give the fortunate  enough money and about me please don’t forget.

While the world is still turning, Lord, You are omnipotent,
Let those striving for power wield it to their heart’s content.
Give a break to the generous, at least for a day or two,
Pray, give Cain repentance, and remember me, too.

I know You are almighty, I believe You are wise
Like a soldier killed in a battle believes he’s in paradise.
Like every eared creature believes, oh, my Lord, in You,
Like we believe desperately, doing something, not knowing what we do.

Oh Lord, oh my sweet Lord, My emerald-eyed One, You’re Good.
While the world is still turning, wondering, why it should,
While it has got sufficient fire and time, as You see,
Give each man a little bit and don’t forget about me.