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Elementary School (Tairovo Residential District Branch)

The early morning in the cozy and green Odessa nook that has just hosted the first inhabitants of the Tikva – Ohr Sameakh education-and-tutoring complex branch has begun with music; the dressed up children were taking pains to excel in dance steps and poetic lines; the pressed for time adults were busy with the final preparations for the reception of the guests – delegation of the American and British Jews.

Both guests and hosts have come together to celebrate another birthday of this home – the Jewish home that is simply unimaginable without one of the most important, significant, and full of special purport symbols of Jewish life – the mezuzah. In full correspondence with tradition, installation ceremony of the mezuzah which is used to be called from time immemorial “the keeper of a Jewish home”, was conducted by the Chief Rabbi of Odessa and Region Rabbi Shlomo Baksht, the Deputy Rabbi Refoel Kruskal, the guests from the USA – Mr. Seth Gerzberg and Mr. Mark Ecko.

To call them “guests”, however, would be a fundamental mistake, Rabbi Shlomo Baksht retorts. And sure enough, many of those who have for the first time that day visited the Tikva – Ohr Sameakh branch at 37, Ilf and Petrov St., the Jewish community, schools, children’s homes, nursery school, and kindergarten – have long since become a sort of kinsfolk whose help and support one can always rely upon.

To apply a “sponsor” attribute to Seth or Mark, as well as to other friends (or relatives perhaps already?) of Tikva residing in different countries of the world, would also be incorrect, Rabbi Shlomo is sure.

- They are simply the members of our family. These are people who really have put their hearts in us, who care about us, our children, our community. They live mostly at their places in America, or England, thousands of miles far from us, but I know that they lay us to their hearts because they live by Odessa, by our community life. Today’s delegation has several persons whom we have only just got acquainted with and to whom have just gladly said, “You are welcome to our family!” I am absolutely certain that it won’t be long since they stop being “the freshers”: you have visited Odessa once – you can’t live separated from us for long, you will inevitably join us coming over and over again. It makes us very happy!

Thus it was not a sheer chance that as soon as the solemn ceremony was over, and all warm words said, and congratulations and wishes sounded; as soon as the gifts for a new home were handed, and the hosts together with guests have done a dancing tour round the tremendous inner yard, then – without formalities – the folks have scattered around the classrooms, nursery and kindergarten rooms, and the like premises. And Refoel Kruskal, together with Mr. Seth Gerzberg and Mr. Mark Ecko have made the round of about all the corners: the friends who are always ready with help should not be shown the “ostentatious scenery” but the truth itself, displaying problems, plans, difficulties due to be overcome without reticence. And the fact they will really be overcome is somehow undoubted here – which is evidenced by both an over ten-year life experience of Tikva – Ohr Sameakh in Odessa and starting this new home in Tairovo residential district.

- There is a Hebrew proverb: “Little time – lots of work”, says Rabbi Shlomo Baksht, the Chief Rabbi of Odessa and Region. And our life, thanks G-d, answers these words. However, it does not mean that we would sit and crack our heads in attempt to think of something new to be opened or done…In fact everything is vice versa: we do what people, community need most, that is, as the saying of previous times goes, “go-getting’s pushed up from below”. As for me, the principal thing is that Odessa Jewish people do sincerely wish the Jewish community, Jewish life to develop, becoming brighter and more diverse. Both I and my colleagues obey their will with pleasure, trying to use every opportunity for the sake of our mutual good and charitable matter. G-d grant that we always have an occasion for a holiday like this one!

- Rabbi Shlomo, and what next?

- It is a secret for a while. But something absolutely new will surely be!

Elena Aizina.

Even those whose school years by now have already faded back in the past will agree: the first school bell is an event! For those especially for whom it is indeed the first – for kids whose school biography just starts, for their parents… And what would you say if this first bell opens a new life not only for the first-grades but for a whole new school?..

It has already become a natural, inherent in Tikva – Ohr Sameakh Jewish education-and-tutoring complex tradition: on the eve of grand autumn holidays, not long before Rosh-ha-Shana to expand its own geography over and over again; not simply start the next in turn educational year but be certain to celebrate each time a new home-warming. In 2006 the first branch of the school and kindergarten in Kotovskogo residential district was opened. And this time, autumn 2007, a birth of a new home was celebrated in quite another end of the city – in Tairovo residential district.

…The first proper performance of the first-grades in the face of the public. The first (and for the time being – the most important for the kids) wise books – the ABCs received from the Deputy Rabbi Refoel Kruskal’s and Tikva – Ohr Sameakh director Mark Dreerman’s hands. The first school bell. And – a magic key to open a door to the new home. A home that from the first days of its existence becomes the natural and native part of Tikva – Ohr Sameakh like everything else created before.

It is clearly evident even today: just several days have elapsed after the 1 st of September but there seem no problems with children’s getting into the way, adaptation. In any case – what concerns the youngest local wards – the kindergarteners. They were swift in familiarizing themselves with a new tremendous yard, better resembling a cozy park, and numerous playing grounds. Similarly, just like their own, inherent in them has become the day routine of the place – the one the kids need: with care of the adults, with toys, and kind books, with lessons that resemble so much a breath-taking game, with attention to each one, with tasty dinner and inevitable after-dinner sleep…

All that has been appreciated already if not by children themselves (it is them who consider it just an ordinary thing!), but their parents. And if they have no such feeling yet – this time will come very soon, assures the head of the branch Anna Sadykova. She is pleased to show her no small domain: spacious rooms, a gym, a swimming-pool (also of school belongings!). There are 50 children already studying here now, Anna Sadykova tells. And being questioned how many children more can be accepted she answers, “All of them who’ll come!’

You may stay assured: here, in this new home, its small inhabitants will have everything going on as it has to. They will have a concentrated, saturated life – with lessons and hobby groups, with getting to know Jewish tradition, with routine school life, and – with holidays that cannot escape being joyful and striking (it can’t be another way in Tikva – Ohr Sameakh!)… This is the fact of which Elena Klyurfeld, the today’s extra-curricular managing teacher of the new branch, is absolutely sure. For over 10 years she is connected with Ohr Sameakh: both as a teacher and mother: Elena’s daughter has finished the school whereto she came a six-year-old child, today she is already a student…

Elena Klyurfeld feels that however wide the Tikva-Ohr Sameakh geography expands, how significant are the changes – the mainstream is unchangeable. It is the essential – traditions the school is rich in, both a desire and ability to approach each child like one’s own. And – love to children. And those parents who are still indecisive what kindergarten or school should their child attend are advised by Elena: “I’d better go around any of Tikva – Ohr Sameakh schools, and everything becomes clear at once, you won’t need being talked into”.

And besides, is persuasion so necessary? You better simply come here – to the branch of the Tikva – Ohr Sameakh Odessa Jewish education-and-tutoring complex in 37-A, Ilf and Petrov St. Come, see everything with your own eyes – and stay here, in this new home where you are always welcome!

E. A.

37-A Ilf&Petrov St.,
Tel. (048) 784-68-38

Tikva Children's Home