20160912 - Gori

posted 13 Sep 2016, 20:35 by Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin

20160912 - Gori

Gori is a small town surrounded by the mountains of Caucasus. Nobody would have heard of it were it not the birthplace of Joseph Stalin.

The focal spot is no doubt taken by the grand Stalin museum. Till recently, you could also see a 34 m tall sculpture of the tyrant, now replaced by one of much more modest proportions.

Should you ask a local Jew (or Gentile) about their thoughts on Stalin, you are very likely to get, with minor variations, the following answer:

You will never find a person who's all good, just as you will never find a person who is entirely evil. Of course, Stalin made huge mistakes, and did some bad things, too. But personally, I am proud he was born in my city...

I visited the museum for the first time over 15 years ago when not just Gori but all of Georgia was far less traveled than today. The cult of Stalin was far more persistent and aggressive than it seems to be now. Does that mean there is still hope for us?

My group listening to the explanations while viewing a picture of Stalin and Trotsky.

Yes, even for Georgia an avenue named after Stalin is hardly an everyday phenomenon. Though in Gori, of course, it is business as usual.

Gori Synagogue


Israeli tourists are everywhere in Georgia. Here, you hear more Hebrew than Russian on the central streets (though less than Georgian). At last the young kids discovered a closer and cheaper destination for their after-army vacation than Far East and South America.

The synagogue of Akhaltzikhe is beautiful, with many carved wooden details

and a 500-year old Torah scroll from ancient Babylonia.


Shabbat Shalom,