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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.
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.
The Rebbe believed in his own words, thus the power of what he was saying reached the hearts of those who heard him speak.
As I celebrate Passover—the holiday of victory against enslavement—I try to gain a new perspective of the day my classroom teacher forever ruined my childhood friendships.
When the children arrived, the doll was strategically placed in the center of the room on a chair.
Most of our neighbors knew each other, even though hundreds of people occupied one building. They also all knew that my family was Jewish.
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.
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