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Sofya Sara Esther Tamarkin

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Born in the Soviet Union, Sofya Sara Esther lives in Philadelphia, runs an orthopedic company, and holds an MBA degree. She teaches Torah, travels the world, and is involved with RAJE (Russian American Jewish Experience) and other outreach organizations. Email Sofya for questions about self-growth and achieving life purpose.
Our lives have been poisoned by fear and anxiety.
One day, as I was washing my grandmother’s hands before eating challah, Svetlana smiled and said that she, too, was Jewish. I was surprised because she often mentioned her Greek Orthodox beliefs and wore a crucifix around her neck.
The rabbi walked toward me with a smile, extended his hand warmly, and offered me my first Jewish greeting: ‘Shalom.’ I froze, completely overwhelmed.
While living in Greece, Irini had a Jewish friend in high school and was required to study the Old Testament in theology classes. This gave her some basic knowledge about the Jewish people.
Before I fall asleep I imagine my grandmother reminding me to learn to narrate my life with positivity and gratitude.
It was brave and dangerous to sing Jewish songs, for the Soviet Union made any religious expression punishable by law. Yet millions of Soviet Jews sang to their children.
A Dream Comes True
In conversation with Elisheva Martinetti and Sofya Tamarkin. Elisheva was born in North-East China, studied in Israel and Australia before converting to Judaism, and now teaches Chassidic thought in London. Sofya is a writer who was born in the Soviet Uni...
The global pandemic makes us feel vulnerable and uncertain about our future. Yet perhaps this anxiety can be channeled into developing a muscle of empathy, compassion and connection to ignite our world with healing and transformational energy.
Before we could call America our new home, we lived as stateless refugees in two camps in Austria and Italy.
My mother and I needed to choose my first destination. It needed to be a country that would open its doors to a 15-year-old Chinese-born girl.
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