Dear Professor Herman Branover,
I enjoyed reading Chaim Donin's book To be a Jew published by SHAMIR. It made me realize that unfortunately, as a Jew raised in the Ukraine, I do not have any knowledge of Judaism.
In my opinion, the biggest problem for Jews in the Former Soviet Union is the lack of Jewish literature available to us. I am very grateful to you, Professor Branover, for the work that Shamir has done for Russian Jewry. I would be very grateful to if you could send me some of your books. I am especially interested in Jewish life in the "Holy Land" and how it would be possible for me to perhaps make aliyah. Many blessings to you and your work.
Alexander Alexandrovich Evstifyev
Dear Professor Branover,
I am delighted to say that I have read some of the books translated by your Publishing House SHAMIR The translations of the Torah and Haftoras are wonderful, Five Megillot and Hagaddah for Pesach and the textbook Jewish Tradition have been very useful.
Here, in the Ukraine, we are unfortunately lacking in Judaica. Fortunately we have books in the library in the Jewish Center where the synagogue is located, but we are unable to purchase these books anywhere ourselves. The only Bible available for us to purchase is Russian Orthodox, and this is translated from Greek, not Hebrew. I, myself am interested in the book Tanya, and would like to know if it has been translated into Russian.
If you can help us in any way we would be very grateful.
Please forgive me for not writing you immediately to thank you for the Torah and siddur that you sent me. You wouldn't believe that I didn't receive a paycheck for four years until this past July. Only the Torah got me through those hard times. Occasionally I copy some words from the Torah in Hebrew and I feel the entire world disappear and I am at peace. I just started to read the Torah again and I am trying to create my own Hebrew dictionary by copying down the words. I would like to eventually read the entire Torah and commentary in Hebrew.
In my city, besides the fact that we don't have a synagogue, the Jews who live here immediately run to change their passports to conceal their Jewish identity, (on all Soviet passports each individual's nationality was written , including Jewish).
I receive a lot of useful knowledge from the radio program "Golosa Ameriki", which is a Jewish program which broadcasts the weekly Torah portion.
I have a request of you. I found a children's dictionary, but it only contains the alphabet and basic vocabulary. I would like to study the grammar and understand the system of Hebrew word formation. I would be very grateful if you could send me a serious Hebrew textbook.
I continue to pray, and copy the prayers in Hebrew.
I thank you again for your kindness.
Dear Professor Branover,
My family and I were all born in Leningrad and presently live in Minnesota. My grandfather was religious but he died in the war. My parents were also religious but it was too much of a risk to be outwardly Jewish in the Soviet Union. Therefore, we unfortunately know very little about Judaism.
I checked out from your library Chaim Donin's book "To be a Jew". I read the entire book at once! I believe it is the ABC of Judaism. I would like to buy this book and pass it down to my children and grandchildren.
Professor Herman Branover, President and Editor-in-Chief
6 David Yellin Street, POB 5749
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org