We want to believe that this brochure will not be the last page in the history of the Jewish community of Konotop, which used to be the very largest and friendliest Jewish community of Konotop many years ago,” Chairman of the board of the Jewish community town of Konotop, Editor of newspaper, Lebn, Grigori Eisenstadt. “I am glad that I have participated in the revival of Jewish people in independent Ukraine,” stated by Executive director of the Jewish Community Konotop Center Ester, Grigori Petrushenko.
This brochure was published because of the material support of the [city of] Kharkov division of the American United distribution committee, “Joint.” For What?
I have heard the question on which I want to answer “Why do we need this history about the Jews of Konotop?” The topic of the discussion was about the rationale of returning to our roots – it meant revival of Jewish traditions, customs, and holidays.
For me, this question didn’t arise until I recognized that I was a Jew. This happened not at once. To know your nationality and identify yourself with it – are different things. Thanks to genetic memory, I strived and strive to repeat what my predecessors used to do in spite of all persecutions and tortures.
The voice of blood told me the necessity not just to remember but also to revitalize the things that our ancestors were not afraid to do until their death the traditions of the ancient (and not only) Jews. In general, it seems that people don’t want to look at their past, who are ashamed about belonging to one nationality due to some exclusively subjective causes, such as upbringing, personal views, and so on. That is why in historical records there is no objective basis for this retrospectively for Jews to be ashamed. Frightened — yes it was, but ashamed – never.
The Jews have given to the world the Book [Bible], which brings in itself
the basis of human morality and ethical values for all and forever. There were Jews, who assumed the culture and religious practices of the people among whom they used to live. It was several thousand years ago in times of Antioch the 4th — it happened under the reign of the Russian tsars.