Friday, May 18, 2012


April 10th consisted of a morning walk around Chisinau, a few more footage shooting and a meeting with the folks at KSAK, the Art Center. 

street fair in Chisinau

Melina stares at Moldovan dolls
On this day, Natasha could not be with us, so she sent her son Grigory, who did a great job replacing his mom.

In the afternoon we headed to Cricova, one of the amazing underground wineries, where besides having wine tasting, we saw the one of the oldest wine in the world (1902), from Jerusalem. Its actual price is 300 thousand dollars. They said the France prime minister wanted to buy it, but at the end Cricova's winery did not want to sell it. They have an amazing collection of old wines, it's like a museum.
Jewish wine

Our Moldovan tour guide at Cricova sat next to us and asked where I was from. When I said "Brazil", he said he had a friend from Brazil who used to live in the US, he was from Porto Alegre and was an Internacional fan. What are the odds: same hometown, same soccer team fan. Small world.

In the evening we went to the Seder at the Jewish center, and blended a little with the Jewish community. We were happy to see Marina Shraibman once more. The Jewish community struggles for a revival of its once vibrant past, but as some said, it is nowadays less spiritual, more about business - and divided into different interests groups.
Marina (to the left) at the Seder
The short trip ended at the same restaurant where my father, sister and I ate in our last night in 2008. It's a small and simple place, but with great food. I had cheese and honey pancakes, Lara had varenikes, we shared it with Melina.

Our plane was leaving at 6AM the next morning. We came back to the hotel to pack and organize ourselves. That was it. Goal accomplished. Vadul Raskov, Chisinau, interviews, etc. It was fast, difficult, but worthwhile.

We arrived in Los Angeles exhausted. It's time to continue working on the documentary.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


We started April 9th by driving around Chisinau and going to spots related to its Jewish history that we hadn't been in 2008: the Chuflinksii square, where the riots that culminated in the 1903 pogrom started, the old Jewish hospital, where the wounded were taken in the same 1903 incident, the Jewish school and the once known Milk synagogue, an old temple built in the middle of the 19th century but that now belongs to the Catholic Church. They use it for religious events. Olga from the Jewish library came with us. We ended our journey in front of the pogrom memorial.

Later the same day we were interviewed by Radio Free Europe. Here's more about it:
Many other things happened that day. We were invited for a Seder event at the Jewish center for the next evening, observed more about Moldova's capital, a few interesting things for tourists coming from America: parking is free and there is not much regulation, so cars are parked everywhere, including sidewalks, front of businesses and restaurants, governments buildings, etc.
Going to the supermarket I was impressed by huge bottles of beer being sold, like over 2 liter plastic bottles. And another unseen curiosity: pizza on a cone! Unfortunately we didn't try it.

The whole crew having lunch at La Placinta
At the end of the day, I was contacted by my sister, saying she found a certain Cristina Tolpolari online, who said not to be Jewish, but that her father had discovered his grandfather was Jewish and seemed to have relatives in Brazil. We called her father in Chisinau, Natasha spoke to him, but it all looked like misguided information. We did not follow this lead.

To end the night, exhausted, Lara, Melina and I went to a restaurant for some pizza and wine. The wine was delicious, and from Orhei, the birthplace of my grandmother. It was the most relaxing night since our arrival.