Video Archives: Efim Skobilitskii
born in Berdychiv , 1919
Efim Skobilitskii was born in 1919 in Berdichev. His father was born in Poland, near Warsaw, and worked as a metalworker. His mother raised five sons. He studied in both a Yiddish school and in a cheder. During World War II, he served in the Red Army as the commander of a battalion of tanks. After he was demobilized in 1949, he returned to Berdychiv and was trained as an agronomist. He worked at a warehouse transfer station for kolkhozi and zovkhozi for thirty-five years.
Current Video: The Zogerin (the Synagogue Prompter)
Efim Grigoryevich Skobilitskii was born in 1919 in Berdichev. In this clip from a 2002 interview, he talks about his mother, a Rabbi's daughter, who acted as a zogerin in a synagogue. The zogerin, as Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Michael Wex write in the YIVO Encyclopedia, was ""a cross between a prompter and cantor, her position was informal, honorific, and unremunerated, though indispensable; she led less literate women in Hebrew and Yiddish prayers in the women's section of the synagogue."" Efim's mother was able to fulfill this role, because she had received a formal Jewish education.
At the end of the clip, Efim talks about the Yiddish-language school that he attended. He notes that there were a number of non-Jews at his school, who, as a result of their education, could speak Yiddish better than Russian.