A couple of days poking around Odessa . . . is enough for us. We picked up some great history about Odessa's Jews from a personal tour of the Migdal Museum, and from a walking tour of Moldovanka, the Jewish neighborhood where my grandmother's family likely lived. (There are still 25,000 to 40,000 Jews in Odessa.
As illustrated in the stories of Shalom Aleichem and Isaac Babel, Moldovanka was a colorful place, founded by Moldovan farmers outside the city limits of Odessa but quickly transformed into a tax haven for smugglers. The Jewish Hospital there, where my great-grandfather probably worked as a nurse, covers many acres and is still in use, though quite decrepit. It's scheduled to be knocked down next year in favor of a new facility, which no doubt is much needed. It does not look like a good place to be sick in now.
In late August, though, Odessa is mostly a beach town, with lots of explosed flesh, much of it singed by the sun. The weather's been very warm, but the beer's been cold. We are ready for the U.S. of A.
See you all soon.