Buryat Cooking Lesson at Ulus in Irkutsk

One of my favorite things about living in/traveling to other countries is getting to know the national cuisine. Irkutsk is located right next to the (Russian) Republic of Buryatia, and as such has a large population of ethnic Buryats (they’re closely related to Mongolians). I also love cooking, though with a minimum of skill, so […]

Моя Россия 13: Религия в России – Религия в СССР

The following is lesson 13 of the Моя Россия advanced Russian lesson series. Note that all bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. В предыдущих уроках мы обсудили историю некоторых религиозных конфессий, имеющих большое значение для истории и культуры […]

Моя Россия 12: Религия в России – Иудаизм

Note that all bold words and phrases have annotation below. Words in bold red are examples of grammar explained in the grammar focus section below. История иудаизма в России неразрывно связана с историей российского еврейства, так как евреи – это не только этническая, культурная, но и религиозная группа. Большинство евреев в российской истории были иудеями. Когда же они иудеями не были (а были, к […]

Моя Россия 11: Религия в России – Буддизм

The following is lesson 11 of the Моя Россия advanced Russian lesson series. Note that all bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Мы уже успели поговорить о православии, язычестве и исламе. Настало времени поговорить и о буддизме, который […]

Моя Россия 9: Религия в России – Христианство и язычество

The following is lesson 9 of the Моя Россия advanced Russian lesson series. Note that all bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Россия – многонациональное и многоконфессиональноегосударство. Россия –  светское государство, а конституция РФ гарантирует «свободу совести, свободу вероисповедания». Федеральный закон «О свободе совести и о […]

A Frozen Thanksgiving in Vladivostok

One of my Russian friends asked me a few weeks ago what I miss about America. As I thought about it, there were the evident reasons of family and friends, but two particular foods sprang to mind as well. Peanut butter and turkey. Although the former will have to wait until my return home, I […]

Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw

There are actually a number of Jewish cemeteries in Warsaw, but the one at Okopowa street is by far the largest. At 83 acres or the size of about 63 football fields, it is also one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe and one of the few remaining Jewish cemeteries in Poland still in […]

Jewish Bishkek: A Brief History and Guide

My experience with the Jewish community in Bishkek began on a weekday evening in September. I did not really expect to find a synagogue on Suyumbayev Street. I had been following the gradually narrowing road for blocks, eventually across the wide Jibek-Jolu Avenue. On the other side of this thoroughfare, Suyumbayev was sidewalk-less, and full […]

5 Ways To Experience Buryat Culture in Irkutsk

Today there are approximately 500,000 people that identify with the largest indigenous group living in Siberia, the Buryats.  The Buryats are a group of people descendent of various Siberian and Mongolian people that inhabited the Lake Baikal area, where most of the ethnic group is still concentrated, with many continuing to engage in traditional ways […]

A Guide to Jewish Moscow

Dear reader, By merit of reading this piece, I assume that you have some interest in Jewish life in Moscow. I came to Moscow June 2012 to study with SRAS’s Russian as a Second Language Program at Moscow State (MGU) without any knowledge of the local community. This list represents the culmination of my observations […]

Tengeri Shaman Center in Irkutsk

Shamanism is the common name for the traditional religions of a number of native Siberian peoples; the word describes a system of beliefs in which a large number of spirits, gods, and ancestors affect daily life on earth and can be called upon and influence by specially gifted individuals called shamans. While groups such as […]

Notes From the Field: Life in a Reindeer Collective

I first became aware of the Evenki reindeer-herding nomads of the Siberian Far East as an undergraduate pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Anthropology. Fascinated by the idea of an entire culture based on fur hunting and reindeer husbandry, I began to research the history of the Evenki from the prehistoric domestication of the reindeer […]

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