ONLINE NEWSLETTER
(No. 6/2007 – December 2007)
Editor: Fran Bock

We received the following comments from Dr. Michael Lozman, after posting articles on Shereshev (Sharashova) recently. Dr. Lozman has been actively involved in cemetery restoration projects there, as well as other localities in Belarus.

See: http://www.jewishgen.org/Belarus/newsletter/SharashovaCemetery.htm

http://www.jewishgen.org/Belarus/newsletter/ShereshevTrip.htm

We look forward to posting more information on the history and development of these projects from Dr. Lozman in the future.

 

This article is copyrighted by Dr. Michael Lozman.

Reprinting or copying of this article is not allowed
without prior permission from the copyrightholders
.

 

Follow-Up to “A Trip to Shereshev

by Dr. Michael Lozman

 

I read with great interest the article on the trip to Shereshev, by Messrs Feldman and Zafman. I would like to inform Belarus SIG members about the most recent developments relating to the cemetery in Shereshev, having returned from there just a few months ago.

Since 2002 I have been responsible for the restoration of seven Jewish cemeteries in
Belarus, the last of which was Shereshev in the early part of October, 2007. Usually I take college students from the United States on these trips and we clear brush and debris from the cemetery, dig postholes, mix cement for the installation of an iron fence around the perimeter of the cemeteries, and right fallen stones where possible. Last year, in Vseylub, we righted over one hundred and fifty stones and in Sopotskin almost twice that amount. We also make a point to visit the local schools, participate in question and answer sessions, bring  practical gifts to the schools, engage in athletic activities with the school children, and have our college students stay at villagers’ homes for one or two days. The local school students, in turn, often volunteer to assist with the cemetery restoration. The hospitality I have been shown and the friendships made have been astonishing. We have always been treated with respect and warmth by everyone we have encountered and in fact, in Shereshev this year, many of the townspeople thanked us for restoring the cemetery, stating how happy they were that we helped to improve the village. The Chairman of the Pruzhany region (in which Shereshev is located) invited us on a tour and requested that I return to restore other cemeteries.

The restoration of the Shereshev cemetery was made possible by the financial contribution of Celia Denov and her husband Robert Bell, both Canadian residents ( Robert is an American citizen). Celia's family was from this village and after her visit there two years ago, she decided that she wanted to take on the challenge of restoring the cemetery. She found my name through Franklin Swartz, a
U.S. citizen, resident of Minsk, and founder of the East European Jewish Project. Frank has been responsible for organizing all of my restoration projects and it is only due to him that we have been so successful in our work. Celia and Robert both joined me on this trip and although we hired local residents to do the labor, we all worked side by side to complete the restoration. Much has been accomplished and although many "hidden stones" need to be uncovered and righted, the cemetery has been restored back to a sacred resting place of respect.

Some previous visitors to
Belarus have included some negative experiences in their accounts of their travels. Having personally traveled all over the world, and being faced with many inconveniences but accepting them as part of the travel experience, I can affirmatively state that Belarus is one of the cleanest, safest, and friendliest countries I have ever visited. When traveling, there are always some individuals everywhere who will spoil the day but I have encountered so few here that to mention them would serve no purpose because it would only paint an unnecessary and unfair negative picture. I, for one, look forward to my next trip to Belarus and cemetery number eight.


Michael Lozman DDS
Mlozman@aol.com

 

Copyright 2007,Belarus SIG and Michael Lozman

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