In 2002, Ruth Wilnai traveled to her grandfather's birthplace in
Ivenets, Belarus. Among her many impressions was a strong sense of
the poor condition of the Jewish cemetery, symbolic of the
destruction of Jewish life and culture in the region. The idea of
cleaning and restoring the cemetery percolated for a couple of years,
while resources could be collected for the project. Last year the
plan came to fruition when Ruth received from Yuri Dorn, head of the
Belarus Jewish religious community and President of the Union of
Religious Congregations of Belarus, a list of identifiable names from
the tombstones. The list is displayed at the end of her article.
Hints of Jewish Life ? What I Found in Ivenets
by Ruth Wilnai
When I told my family in Israel about my plans to visit Rakow in
Belarus, the birthplace of my mother's family, their reactions were
mixed. My cousin Michal wanted immediately to join us, while my cousin
Nava rejected the idea of going to Belarus, saying her father would
never have wanted to go back there.
"His childhood memories were dark and unhappy" she said.
Michal turned out to be an expert about the family history of our
parents and grandparents in Belarus.
"If you go to Rakow, you should also go visit Ivenets. Ivenets is
the town where our grandfather, David Lifshitz, was born. You should
also go through Wolma. Wolma is where my grandfather, Yehuda Lifshitz,
For story, pictures amd lists of graves click or go to;