Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yiddish, in Georgia!!!

YIDDISH!!!! I spoke Yiddish with a Georgian today, and unlike the other times I have done this, I was not met with a blank stare!!!
Back to the beginning. Last night, I came into Tbilisi because today (Tuesday) I am going to hop on a plane to meet and re-meet all the cousins I have heard about for years. Yes, I am going to Israel. Last night, I got off the train from Poti and asked the Taxi driver to take me to Friends Hostel. Of course, it was not that simple, and about a half hour and wrong ways down streets later, I found the friend's hostel. As it was a Monday night, I was not surprised to find it almost empty. In fact, I was really excited that there were some other people here. After speaking hanging out a little with them and the Georgians who work at the hostel, I told them I was in Tbilisi to go to Israel. Everyone said how exciting, etc, and I said I wanted to know more about them. Well, one of the people who works at Friend's said “they are here from Israel”. I was a bit confused when he said that because they had not said a word when I said I was going to Israel, but they were also looking at him confused. They were not from Israel, they are from Iran. Slightly different place. We all laughed and said we wished that a mix up like that was not so charged. This morning, they were going shopping nearby so I joined them. As we wondered around, one of the first buildings we saw was a synagogue. It felt so out of the blue even though I had been thinking about finding the synagogues in Tbilisi. We passed it on the first go, but later on we decided to go in. I was explaining the little I know about religious Judaism (it turns out it was a Sephardi synagogue), when a man came up to us and said “shalom”. I said “a gut morgn” without thinking and HE RESPONDED! His parents came to Tbilisi in the war from Ukraine. He was very much hoping we would “become a member of the Jewish community” (ps, took me forever to figure out that meant donate money), so he didn't really respond to my questions about who he was and what this Jewish community was. But he told me there are 3,000 Jews in Georgia, half of them in Tbilisi and there are 3, including himself, who speak Yiddish, that he knows of. When I get back I am going back there and getting some answers!

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