Monday, December 17, 2012


I went to a friends' house for a Hanukkah dinner in Long Beach. The place was packed, great food, children running around (including my daughter), nice conversations... Until I met a woman, named Dina, who said she was from Russia. I asked where and the answer was "from the South" - with a face like "you would never know where it is so I won't say the name of the location". Insistently I asked again where. The answer was Moldova.

Just the name "Moldova" opens up room for a lot of conversation. But ours was fast. When I mentioned my grandmother was from Orhei, Dina called her husband right away and put me in contact with him.

To make the story short, we found out I am related to Emil, Dina's husband, through a common relative: Fima Tolpolar. Dina invited me to her house the next day. 

Dina and Emil
Dina and Emil are a very nice couple. Dina is a pianist and Emil was a journalist in the extinct Soviet Republic - and turned out to be a computer programmer in the States. Amongst homemade latkes and mamaliga, we exchanged stories and information, and talked to relatives in Miami who knew more about our connections - and even sent us some rare pictures I had never seen before.

It so happens that Emil's grandmother was the sister of Fima's mother! Her last name was Davidovich - and I also found out that there was a Davidovich in Brazil who was married to my dad's uncle - and was also Fima's cousin.

One of the pictures sent to us from Miami opened up multiple interpretations of what could have happened in 1930 between Tolpolar and Davidovich cousins. A mystery that, if solved, can help us picture the past.

More in the next post.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


2012 was a year of progress for our dear documentary project Mamaliga Blues. Many things have happened:

- We managed to go back to Moldova and finish shooting the film.
- The Historians Irina Livezeanu and Vladimir Solonari have joined the project as consultants.
- The great Brothers Landau will be composing the music for the film.
- There are many updates and a new section ("Press") on our website, please feel free to explore it:
- As part of the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists, I was selected as a participant in Asylum: International Jewish Artist Retreat, in NY, March 2013. Mamaliga Blues was a pivotal part of the application.

Hope 2013 will bring us more great news - and the completion of the film!

For donations (ANY amount is helpful!), just go here:

Thank you all so much!

Cassio Tolpolar

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