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Sofya Tamarkin

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Born in the Soviet Union, Sofya 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.
Growing up in the former Soviet Union, like many fellow citizens, we spent our summers at a dacha—a small primitive house outside the city where most people used their days for growing fruits and vegetables, and preserving them for the winter months.
My story is not simple. To Russians, I am an American. To Americans, I am a Russian. To Jews who were observant from birth, I am a baal teshuva, a “returnee” to the faith. To my non-observant friends, I seem extremely religious and committed to Judaism.
We couldn’t understand why there was a need for us to meet yet another rabbi. We were rather satisfied with the acquaintance of Rabbi Shemtov.
Standing next to the small table with prepared candles, I saw a young girl hiding in the shadows.
When I turned on the water, the pipes made a loud, unwelcoming noise, and a brown-looking liquid burst out of the faucet.
Time has passed, and so much has happened since I was a child in Soviet Russia, yet I feel an undeniable connection to this land where so many righteous tzadikim are buried.
I remember the day in September of 1989 when I walked out of my home in Saratov into the unknown future.
Every single event, factor and statistical analysis with absolute certainty would predict my future to be the exact opposite of what it is today.
I somehow knew that my inner worth was much more significant than the treat that was offered.
Why him? From all the people in the crowd, why did the firefighter save my brother-in law?
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