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Introduction by the Author


This book follows my discovery of my Jewish roots. Born in Tashkent, in the former USSR, I was brought up in atheistic environment. Religious freedom was not a reality under a communist government, even though it was in the headlines. I have to be thankful to my grandfather Motl Zipman for giving me any sense of my Jewish identity. He meticulously continued to observe all the rules of Jewish law in his home. Older people were strangely allowed to practice religion. All nationalities (ethnicities) were supposed to be equal in the Soviet Union, but in real life this was not true. It was often unsettling to be Jewish. I remember when the Jews were first allowed to leave USSR in the 1970s and a lot of people we knew were leaving, I was frightened to be left behind, to be hated.

 

Immigrating to Melbourne in 1989 opened up many opportunities for me to learn about my Jewish heritage. Throughout my childhood and youth in Tashkent, I had not encountered a single book on Jewish history or religion that I could read. My grandfather had a collection of Hebrew prayer books, but he was afraid to teach us. Everything my family knew about Jewish tradition was from my grandfather’s practice of rituals: putting tefillin every morning, sitting and singing with the prayer book, soaking meat in salt, making hanukkiah candles out of potatoes filled with cotton and oil and making cherry wine to drink. We were unaware that some of the stories my grandparents told me and my sisters at bedtime were drawn from Torah, as well as from their lives. In Melbourne we could go to synagogue openly, learn Hebrew and study Jewish history and traditions. However, having missed out on Jewish learning as a child, my road to observance and Judaism has been slow and is still continuing.

 


Sample Poems



Shalom

 

I offer peace

Hello, I say

Goodbye

The circle incomplete without me

 

I make one feel content

and bring the truce

to warring friends

and family

 

I feed from people’s joy in greeting hands

in salutations

and the farewells

I pay my debts in full

and make amends

 

I offer blessing to the land and sea

and fill in holes in all those searching souls

I take one to the roots of the Torah tree

and that which hides inside the ancient scrolls

 

 

Zlata

 

My grandmother’s hair

was golden

even when she was old

and could not eat

with her own teeth

 

Not grey

That would be charcoal

 

Not silver

That would be steel

 

Not a snow white

but a soft wheat yellow

an ocean foam

with seaweed leaves

 

It was short and silky

Golda was her name

in Yiddish

 

 

 

Haviva

 

A day is born

of simple things

to love

Ahava-Spring

brings Eve

into equation

the ancient Hebrew Hava

of Adam

who breathed in life from him

on an occasion

 

Zehava, Av, Yeva, Aviv and Viv

all came from a sacred source

together bound

with promise of fertility

to give

each one

with a wreath

of the first female

crowned  

 


About the Author

Ellina Zipman was born in Tashkent in 1962. From the age of 16 she wrote poetry and freelanced for newspapers and magazines. Before leaving Tashkent in 1988, Ellina completed Music Teachers college and Tashkent State Conservatory and worked as a Literary Director for Tashkent State Music Theatre. After a brief sojourn in Vienna, Ellina immigrated to Melbourne in 1989, where she got married, had three children, completed a Master of Arts at Monash University, divorced, and had a great variety of part time jobs, always combining work with her passion for writing and family. Ellina taught music at schools, ran preschool music studio, did tour guiding, was involved in promotions and marketing; has worked in early childhood, residential and community care, and higher education. She was an academic lecturer at the Australian Institute of Music, a Teacher associate at Monash University, and a course content creator at Kangan institute. Ellina’s accomplishments include published research, “The Musical Portrait in Western Music”, receiving an Australian Book Council literary grant, translation of Australian author Steve Carrol’s book “Remember me, Jimmy James” into Russian, participation in bilingual writers performance project “Portability” at the opening of Melbourne Immigration Museum and winning the prize for her short story “Airports”. Currently, Ellina is completing a PhD, “Music education in aged care”, dedicated to positive ageing, at Monash University in Melbourne. As a poet and a writer, Ellina Zipman has appeared in Russian and English publications. Ellina’s poetry has been included in the anthologies 28 People Write, Memory Weaving, Migrant Women Writers and has been performed on the 3CR Spoken Word radio programme. A selection of Ellina’s poems featured in the 2015 Rosh Hashana edition of the Jewish Holocaust Centre News. Ellina’s poetry appeared several times in the Australian Jewish News and featured in the Australian Jewish Museum online magazine. This is Ellina’s first collection of poems. Contact the author:  ellinapoet@gmail.com

 


Purchase Information

60 Page Poetry Collection

ISBN# 978-1-942051-38-1


5.5" x 8.5" book size

Full Color Cover

$16.95 + $3.99 shipping
(shipped to U.S. address)