«Jewish Observer»
December 2001
5762 Tevet

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Faina Grimberg (Gavrilina) is the author of the book "Two dynasties" that "exposed" all classical Russian history known since the Karamzin times as a "PR - action of the Romanov house". She prefers not to talk about some of her theories at all as, for instance, about the proven idea that a three thousand-year-old Jewish people is no more than a myth.

- Do you really consider that the Jews do not exist?

- First, I wouldn't like to state that "The Jewish people do not exist..." In this case I appear a rather silly and tactless person. We are used to some mystic notions. If we take the definitions of a "people", "tribe", "nation", "nationality", we shall see they denote certain human communities united by a territory, language, and culture...

- If you mean the Jews prior to or beyond the existence of the state of Israel we may recall that in the Stalin times there was a battle with homeless cosmopolites, namely the Jews, for the Stalin science considered them not a nation but something unknown.

- Do you agree that there exists a confessional, i.e. religious, community? For instance, a Greek, a Bulgarian or my Moscow friend Misha, a Jew after the Soviet passport, - they all are Orthodox Christians. The question arises if they are one people.

- I suspect, they aren't.

- Is it possible then to say they are united by their confession?

- Let's assume it.

- No, this is namely so. They can attend the same church and observe the same rites... But, alongside with this, an Athens native will not look like a Ryazan one, won't he? (We don't speak about Misha). Their religious community doesn't make them one people due to other parameters. As a matter of fact, the Jews also are a confessional community if to go deeper into the case.

- Are they not a tribal, national, ethnic community at the same time?

- Let's call all those who profess Judaism the Jews. We are to include here the inhabitants of Morocco, Ethiopia... Does an Ethiopian look like my friend Misha who attends the synagogue in Maryina Roshcha? Why do these people differ racially, why do they have different customs, rites?

- They could have taken their customs from the aboriginals.

- But if this is one people how can its full alienation in the sphere of customs, rites, psychology and even pure physiology be explained?

- Have you got other examples, except the Ethiopians?

- Yes, I've got some. For instance, Chesare Lombroso, a famous scientist of the XIX century, an Italian Jew of the Spanish origin, wrote in one of his works that the Russian Empire Jews were somewhat different. He was, as you are, an adherent to the theory of one "wandering people", but in the given case he was humanly surprised. They did not resemble Jews being sad, gloomy, with a difficult character, never attending taverns. In other words, Chesare Lombroso as the representative of a totally different community considered those people strange and alien, first of all, due to their psychology.

- Was the difference between the Jews of Western and Eastern Europe part of the general difference between the Europeans and Russian Empire citizens?

- No, those were absolutely different communities united only confessionally. It is the same as the Bokhara, highland, Spanish, Italian, Moroccan, Ethiopian Jews who are united only by their religious confession.

- But why then are the Jews in all these countries, be it Spain, Italy, Bokhara or Russia, singled out namely as Jews?

- Let's not resort to the mystic terms. Naturally, the people who profess a certain faith are singled out as a community. Let's take contemporary Istanbul. There is an Armenian community there. The Armenians are, of course, singled out.

- As the Armenians?

- As the Gregorians.

- Forget about the Armenians. Let's take my ancestors: father's ones come from Belarus, those related to my mother - from Ukraine. Were they singled out among the Byelorussians or Ukrainians? What do you want to say? I don't believe it!

- I think, they weren't. They, rather, became part of the Russian Empire after the division of Poland. These people spoke one of the German accents. This is not a separate language but one of the German dialects.

- Do you mean Yiddish? It was spoken inside the community. I doubt the Germans understood it.

- You are mistaken. I remember my father roared with laughter when we were together reading the magazine "Sowjetishe Geimland". He was laughing because this language became a normal German literary language as soon as it had stopped being a spoken dialect. Naturally, any German would understand it well. Moreover, we with you preserve some elements of the German pronunciation, the specific "r" sound. Yiddish is namely the German dialect. And the elements of a liturgical vocabulary are natural in it. As well as the Slavisms are.

- You forget about the written language. Letters are for some reason different.

- There is a reason to it. The written language is directly connected with the confession. Let's say, all Muslims use the Arab graphics. The Turks had used the Arab graphics prior to the reforms of Ataturk who introduced the Roman alphabet. The written language is tied to the confession like the Cyrillic alphabet is connected with Orthodoxy.

- Well, we followed the movement of my ancestors back to Poland, Germany. And, fifteen hundred years prior to it, can we follow the opposite movement away from Palestine?

- No, we, unfortunately, cannot. We shall easily define our German - speaking ancestors. We may, naturally, use the theory of one "wandering people", then we won't be able to understand the whole number of cultural, mental and other differences. But if we take into consideration that it is the confession that is on the move and not the people, then...

- Why can't the differences be explained in a natural scientific way? May be Lysenko was not right, and the newcomers adopted some features of the local people?

- Cultural features, let's assume, may be adopted. But there is one strange thing. Let's say, the Rus people adopted Christianity having preserved some elements of the Pagan culture. This is logical. But in the given case everything is on the contrary. The people with a developed monotheistic religion adopted, for some reason, a number of the Pagan elements: It is known the ancestors of the Germans had Judaic communities already in the VII century. Those were, of course, the communities of local inhabitants.

- Local inhabitants?

- Naturally. Most curious is that the local inhabitants preserved purely Pagan elements of culture. For instance, the cult of a sacred animal. There exist well- known traditional Jewish and German names. They are Hirsh - a deer, Wolf - a wolf, Ber - a bear. Where are they from? It is clear these are the names dating back to the Pagan cult of sacred animals. Even the adoption of Judaism didn't avert people from these traditional German names.

- Let's assume it. But why do the Jews emerge in Germany of the VII century, in Spain and God knows where else?

- I am sorry to say that but you are mistaken thinking that one mystic people is moving around the world. Proselytism, i.e. the formation of new Judaic communities, began a long time ago. As a matter of fact, the history of Judaism begins with it. Who is Abraham ? Should he have a passport what could have been written in the line "Nationality"?

- "A Jew", with God's signature instead of the signature of a law enforcement agency chief.

- No. Abraham was a Shumer who had adopted a new religion. He moved away, as they say, from traditional believes and created a religious community under the influence of Revelation. As did, for instance, prophet Muhammad who followed the example of Abraham and Moses. Pay attention here that since Abraham's community was composed of only his family, i.e. his harem, several his relatives and himself, he had to define his marriage areas.

Do you remember the marriage of one of his descendants - Jacob? Jacob was going to his mother's relative Lavan. Lavan was not a Jew but a Pagan. When his daughters, Jacob's wives, left together with Jacob, one of them, Rachel, took her father's idols - terafim. Moreover, Jacob had a brother, Esav. He was not a Jew either. They were twins, but one of them was a Jew whereas the other - not. This is logical: one professes Judaism, the other - doesn't. Actually, the talk is about the elementary Proselytism. Cultural and racial differences of this community become clear in this case. As a matter of fact, Judaism is not a hardened monolith. It represents a definite dynamic development.

Interview by Igor Shevelev ("Ogonyok")
"Political magazine", Israel
To be continued

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