By Alex Kopelberg
Related to: Stepanovka (Town)
Stepanivka is a village located some 12 kilometers from Emilchino. Before the WW II there lived a few Jewish families (the two families of KOPELBERG, FREYLIKHMAN are the only ones I know about so far). In the 1870s my great-grandfather Usher KOPELBERG built his own house there. As the village was surrounded by thick woods, the logs for the construction were simply cut in the yard. This house was demolished only in the 1960s. It was rather a huge building, which consisted of two parts, each one containing two-three rooms.
In the Soviet period one part of it was occupied by the local aid station and a paramedic lived. Usher KOPELBERG was a tax-farmer, and had some small enterprises, but after the 1917 Revolution, everything was taken away from him. There remained only the recollections of my relatives or acquaintances, who told us that he was a much respected person, had his own place in the synagogue, was among those who subscribed and read the province newspaper. On Sabbath many Jews came to his house to pray, exchange news and discuss problems. I know that his son, my grandfather, Pesakh KOPELBERG, went to the heder [Hebrew school for young children]; therefore, we can come to the conclusion that enough children lived there to open this institution. But the only reminder that is left of his home are the pictures of the silver utensils for Pesakh [Passover], which are shown here. Etl URMAN KHAZIN remembered setting the table for the Passover holiday with these dishes and said "First the table was covered with broadcloth, then - with oilcloth, the third was - linen tablecloth, the fourth - the white tablecloth, and the upper one - festive cloth". Each of these Seder cups had a different engraving.
Alex Kopelberg, copyright 2005