Elizaveta Bershadskaia was born in Chernyatka in 1927. Her father was a barber and was also born in Chernyatka. Her mother was born in Bershad and worked as a seamstress. She had two brothers and a sister. She moved to Bershad at the age of 13, and spent much of the war in the Bershad ghetto. We interviewed her on July 18, 2002 in Bershad.

Other Interviews:

Jewish Professions
How to Get Food
Our House
Mama's Mamaliga

Getting Ready For Sabbath

Bershad, Ukraine

Food was also strongly associated with religious festivals and practice, a phenomenon by no means unique to Soviet Jewry. Sabbath foods—challah, gefilte fish, cholent, and latkes—feature prominently in memories of the Sabbath. Cholent, in particular, a slow-cooked stew, usually consisting of meat, barley, beans, potato, and whatever else could be found around the house, symbolizes the Sabbath for many. The Sabbath rest prohibits cooking from Friday evening through Saturday sunset, but does allow the consumption of a hot meal provided that the fire was lit before the onset of the Sabbath. It is traditional, therefore, to place the stew in the oven prior to the start of the Sabbath, on Friday evening, and remove it, fully cooked, for lunch on Saturday. In this clip, Elizaveta Bershadskaia remembers sealing the oven with clay in order to prevent heat from escaping (and to stop anybody from violating the Sabbath by rekindling the oven) as the cholent cooked overnight.