Mother's Sewing Machine

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
This is my mother's sewing machine
This is my mother's sewing machine

My mother was born in Kyiv, Ukraine which was once a part of the Soviet Union. The Jewish people suffered under the Soviet government. They were thought of as a group that was different from the Soviet people. Jews in the Soviet Union were not allowed to speak Hebrew or Yiddish. They even were identified as “еврей” (“Jew”) on their documents, which led to discrimination from institutions and employers. After several generations of persecution, my family decided to flee to the United States to build a better life for themselves. My mother came with my cousin, aunt, uncle, and grandparents. When she first came to the USA, my mother worked as a tailor repairing clothes. A year after I was born, my father got a job on Wall Street and moved us to NYC to chase their American dream. My mother no longer works as a tailor, but we still have all of her sewing equipment. I have managed to pick up a bit of the sewing basics from her, but I still rely on her to help keep my clothes intact. I feel like my mum’s skills are one of the few things she brought from the Soviet Union to the United States. I have been incredibly lucky to grow up in the United States. Here my family is able to speak freely, practice our religion, and grow up in safety. It's almost surreal to compare the Soviet-Era Ukraine that my mum fled from, with the Ukraine of the 2020s. Just 30 years ago, my mother’s family couldn’t attend university because of discrimination, while the Ukrainian president is Jewish. 

Place(s): Kyiv, California, NYC

– Dave

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant