It supposedly all used to be quite different.
In Soviet times, “Armenia was a wonderful asylum for Jews from all over the Soviet Union,” recounts Burstein, whose family first moved to Armenia from Ukraine in the 1940s to escape anti-Semitism.
The free, Russian-language monthly newspaper published by the Jewish Community, Magen David (The Star of David), used to run out after “several days,” recollects Adelina Livhitz, 62, the publication’s editor-in-chief and staff of one. Now, its role is “secondary” to that of the internet.
Varzhapetyan-Feller denies that living in a predominantly mono-ethnic society that overwhelmingly self-identifies as Christian has had any impact on the low level of current involvement in Jewish community life.
“The fact that my husband is Christian didn’t hinder me to live as a Jew,” she underlines. “I don’t think that a wife or a husband can prohibit a Jew to have a community life, learn the language and preserve traditions.”