Brukhe Feldman was born in 1938 or 1939 in Bershad. Her father died fighting in the war when she was three years old, and she was brought up by her mother. She spent much of her life working in a furniture factory.

Other Interviews:

Postwar Religious Practice
A Gravestone for My Mother
Hunger of 1946
Kheskele - the Clarinetist
Burial Customs
The Shiva

A Jew Must Eat Matzo

Bershad, Ukraine

In Soviet times, while public displays of Jewish observance were heavily discouraged by state authorities, many Jews held on to the traditions of Passover, such as clandestinely baking and eating matzo. More than most other Jewish practices, Passover customs persisted among Soviet Jews, in part because of the symbolic content of the holiday's message of national liberation, and because of the memory of participation in the seder as children.

In the early years of the Soviet Union, the Jewish Sections of the Communist Party published so called Red Hagaddahs that tried to retell the Passover story as a story of the liberation of the proletariat from the oppression of the bourgeoisie. These Red Hagaddahs were widely distributed through Communist Party youth organizations. Almost none of the people we interviewed remembered the Red Hagaddahs. Instead, they recall traditional seders with their families, but often have difficulty recalling specific details of the ceremony.

In this clip, Brukhe Feldman recalls the Exodus story and describes how people would bake matzah in the baker's oven in Bershad. Women would roll out dough for matzo, and the baker would bake them in his oven. Feldman also remembers helping her mother make matzo at home, on baking sheets.