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Out of Line: Growing Up Soviet [Hardcover]

Tina Grimberg
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 9 2007
Although the Iron Curtain is gone, the memory of the high drama, tragedy, and comedy that was life in the Soviet Union remains. It meant endless lineups in the cold — lineups enlivened by poetry and paranoia. It meant family life lived in two small rooms, but a family life that was rich in love and laughter. It meant trying to escape all-seeing eyes, especially those of the old ladies in their babushkas who guarded every courtyard.

Tina Grimberg brings color and perception to a life we think of as gray, impersonal, and foreboding. She was born in Kiev and grew up feisty, bright, and funny in a tiny flat with her parents and her older sister. Her descriptions of life in that grand and beleaguered city are by turn hysterical and heartbreaking. When Tina turned fifteen, the government, desperate for foreign wheat, traded “undesireables” for food, and that meant that many Jewish families like Tina’s could leave. Until they could leave on the hair-raising journey that would eventually bring them to Indiana, she was publicly shamed and cut off, but she never lost her affectionate and clear-eyed view of her homeland.

This brilliant collection of memories is an unforgettable look behind what was the Iron Curtain; at a way of life that was reality for millions of people in the twentieth century.

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About the Author

Rabbi Tina Grimberg developed a keen interest in Judaism and became involved in the American-Jewish community after settling in Indianapolis. Though her first career was in family therapy, her love of her Jewish heritage called her to pursue rabbinical studies at the Reform Movement’s Hebrew Union College, from which she graduated in 2001. Following her rabbinic work at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, Rabbi Grimberg moved to Toronto, and since 2002 she has served as rabbi for Congregation Darchei Noam, the city’s Reconstructionist synagogue. In all her professional endeavors, Tina has been able to help others through her unique storytelling abilities, which allow the listener and reader to make sense of the past, and dream about the future. Rabbi Tina Grimberg lives in Toronto with her husband, Moshe, and their son, David. Out of Line is Rabbi Grimberg’s first published book of collected stories.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars out of line Oct. 13 2007
Great. Funny and sad at the same time. Perfect for young readers to see what life is like in another part of the world at another place in time. A must read for all young readers.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forgiveness of God Aug. 25 2009
By David Roemer - Published on Amazon.com
In 1979, at the age of 17, the author immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union. She is now a rabbi at a synagogue affiliated with the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. Her description of her daily life and her family's life in the Soviet Union enables us to understand the abstractions we have all been told about life under communism: the corruption, the poverty, and the fear of government. Her book is not an anti-communist screed. Rabbi Grimberg praised the system of childcare and tells how her grandmother was exonerated from a false accusation of corruption. She had a happy childhood.

One of the most poignant scenes in the book is when the 10-year old Tina ordered her beloved grandmother not to speak Yiddish in public again. The grown-up rabbi tells this story in a way that shows she has not forgiven herself. Indeed, forgiveness is oriented to the past and has no meaning for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. They are concerned only with the future, not realizing there is no future if there is no past. We can forgive ourselves because God forgives us. As an added benefit, we all have someone we can express our gratitude to for whatever happiness He has given us.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of Line: Growing up Soviet March 20 2008
By Jewish Book World Magazine - Published on Amazon.com
This memoir tells about life in the Soviet Union during the Communist era. Tina Grimberg grew up in Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, in a tiny flat with her parents and her older sister. She explains that, for over 70 years the world was divided into two parts, East and West, or the Communist Bloc and the Free World. This book tells about her life behind the Iron Curtain. After the fall of the Czar, during the Communist Revolution in 1917, the Communist took over and forbade all religion. Tina and her family were Jewish, but they were not allowed to practice their religion, even speaking Yiddish outside of the home meant trouble. Although the Iron Curtain is gone, her memories of that time remain. In the West everyone assumed that communism was a great evil. Grimberg reports that there were certainly aspects that were bad, evil even, but it wasn't all gray and dreary. For small children, it was a stimulating place with love of family strong, along with the endless lineups in the cold. It also meant trying to escape the all-seeing eyes, whether they belonged to the old ladies in their babushkas who guarded every courtyard, or to the Soviet state that monitored every step its citizens took. In the 1970's the Soviet Union, often referred to as Russia, agreed to allow certain "undesirables" (Jews and some minorities) to leave. Tina, then 15 years old, and her family were sponsored by kind strangers in Indiana, who helped the family settle in the United States. This subject of life behind the Iron Curtain is rarely told for children and the book is highly recommended. For ages 8-12 years. Reviewed by Barbara Silverman
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The psyche of a country. Dec 3 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Grimberg's collection of memories of life behind the Iron Curtain is an essential key to understanding a way of life which millions led in the 20th century. Though the Iron Curtain is gone, thus impact remains - and thus this autobiography of Tina, who was born in Kiev and grew up in a tiny flat with her family, is key to understanding, even today, the psyche of a country.
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