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.
look forward to posting more information on the history and development of
these projects from Dr. Lozman in the future.
article is copyrighted by Dr. Michael Lozman.
Reprinting or copying of this
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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
Copyright © 2007,Belarus
SIG and Michael Lozman