Day 8, Thursday, May 17
Today after breakfast, we travel back in time to tzarist Russia of the 19th century, the period when Russia had its first Perestroika and Glasnost Reforms. We visit the estate-museum of one of the world's pioneering physician who revolutionized war-time field surgery Nikolai Pirogov (1810 - 1881).
Pirogov was one of the most prominent people in Russia during the "Perestroika and Glasnost" Reforms of Alexander I which led to the abolition of slavery (called serfdom in Russia) in 1861. Pirogov was one of the leading supporters of those reforms and a great friend of Jewish people. As the Superintendent of schools in Odessa, he broke down numerous barriers for the Jewish students in getting a secular education and despite not being religious himself, prized highly the Jewish traditional heder and Jewish drive to learn.
We also visit there the chapel where Pirogov's mummified body lies under glass. This is one of the best-preserved mummies anywhere. Unlike Lenin's mummy, Pirogov's body is remarkably well preserved despite its much greater age and several accidents.
Next, we visit the true miracle: the first Jewish school in Vinnitsa in over 80 years
In the Soviet Union, all forms of Jewish education were prohibited. Now, despite emigration of most of Vinnitsa' Jews, Jewish schooling is being reborn. We'll visit the Jewish school there and talk to its teachers, parents, and students.