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Across Three Continents

Reflections on Immigration, Education, and Personal Survival


Katerina Bodovski

Born in Soviet Moscow, Katerina Bodovski was twelve years old when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, coming of age as the «perestroika» and «glasnost» movement gained full speed. She would later arrive in Israel during the peak of the peace process during which time Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated. Her final move to America, months after the upset of 9/11, would also directly and indirectly shape the way her personal journey unfolded.
The unique feature of this work lies in the combination of autobiographical narrative and sociological analysis. By personalizing accounts of immigration, education, and family transformations, this book discusses the author’s firsthand experiences in Soviet Russia, Israel, and the United States. The book speaks to scholars of education by providing examples and patterns in educational systems of the Soviet Union, Israel, and the United States. Beyond academia, the book will resonate with immigrants who have experienced transitions between lands and languages. Furthermore, Dr. Bodovski utilizes her female perspective to illuminate different aspects of family life, immigration processes, and, finally, her experiences in United States academia as a doctoral student and a professor.
Across Three Continents: Reflections on Immigration, Education, and Personal Survival will be of specific interest to women, especially young women, who are trying to figure out the interplay between their family and professional life and what is possible for them to aspire for and to achieve. This text is ideal for courses focused on comparative education, women’s studies, Jewish studies, sociology of education, childhood, and immigration.
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Part II: Middle East: Israel



Middle East: Israel

Kibbutz Tzeelim

So here I was, having left Russia and now in the middle of the Negev desert, in a little oasis not far from the large southern Israeli City of Beer Sheba, called kibbutz Tzeelim. All around us was desert with white sand and rocks, rare little bushes and Bedouin families with flocks. This landscape could not be any more different from the one I had just left, and it was exactly what I needed.

The kibbutz hosted the “ulpan,” a school for learning Hebrew. We were supposed to work half of the time and study Hebrew the other half. Three types of people lived at the kibbutz. First, there were the native Israeli families (only about 5% of the population in Israel today lives in a kibbutz). They had individual houses but shared a common dining room, laundry services, and day care. In Tzeelim they also shared cars. Although some people worked outside of the kibbutz, the majority worked within: in the kitchen, in the dining room, in the orange orchards and other agricultural facilities, and at the factory that produced tires.

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