If you doubt that Russian Jews have taken over Israel, what further proof do you need than the recent opening of a new location for the Russian Library in Jerusalem? (Where the location is, the news doesn’t exactly divulge.  Probably in my Uncle Vova’s spare bedroom in Ashkelon.) This is great news, considering the library has had to constantly fight for its right to exist:

Jerusalem’s Russian Library has always had to fight for its right to exist. Last week, it raged its fiercest battle yet, culminating in a promise from the municipality to move it to the Clal Building.(this was in 2008)

Belotsky, a member of mayoral hopeful and opposition leader Nir Barkat’s faction, adds that “The municipality would be perfectly happy for it [the library] to disappear.” She admits that the municipality is indeed stretched thin by the size and activity of the Russian Library. One suggestion has been to upgrade the library’s status to that of a national library, but this would involve moving the library under the auspices of the Culture Ministry, a long and complicated process, and wouldn’t address the immediate matter of vacating the Zuckerman building.

After a long and troublesome history in its relationship with the municipality of Jerusalem, the library finally has a place of its own, with an opening ceremony attended by Natan Sharansky (video news about it in Russian here).  Trivia tidbit:  I once met Natan Sharansky for ten minutes in Jerusalem.  This makes me a minor celebrity in my family.  C-list, at least. This is from the event’s Flickr stream.

Let there be Sholom Aleichem!

Let there be Sholom Aleichem!

And here is the mezuzah fixing (I’m guessing this is like breaking a bottle of champagne on the hull of a ship?  Only we are too cheap to actually break champagne?  Also, it may not be kosher?) From the Russian language news about the new library:

We'll christen her...oh...wait.

Let's christen her...oh wait.

Here’s some extra information about the library from the JPost article:

HOLDING SOME 100,000 books, Jerusalem’s Municipal Russian Library is the largest public Russian-language library outside the former Soviet Union, and the world’s largest library of books translated from Hebrew to Russian.

And, my favorite tidbit:

There are self-help books for everything from learning languages to using computer programs and entire collections of rare Soviet journals from Stalin’s time. There is even a section of anti-Semitic Soviet books from the 1970s, most of which were written by Jews.

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  • Oh, good God. It’s happened. My Russian proofreading assistant Vanya ran off before he finished looking at this piece. Please have pity on poor, alocholic Vanya, because he was brought up in Krasnodar and has no idea what a mezuzah, menorah, or mehitza are. I will now go beat him for his indiscretions.

  • Thanks, Miriam, for stopping by and reading. Too bad I couldn’t see Mr. S. in person. 😉

  • Can someone please tell me what is wrong with a Russian library in Jerusalem? I am as big of a believer in the revival of Hebrew as anyone, but who is being harmed here?

  • There’s nothing wrong with a Russian library in Jerusalem, Jason! In fact, quite the opposite. I am very, very excited about it, seeing, as how, you know I’m Russian and Russians are big on literacy in Russian. And maybe I wanna read a little Pushkin strollin’ down Ben Yehuda.