This is the story of Gabriel Milski, a Russian Jew. It will be your story during this activity.

My name is Gabriel Milski. I'm 32 years old. I live here in Soligorsk with Lidia, my wife, and our children. There's Isaac and Mordecai and little Fanny. They're all old enough to go to school. Our shtetl or town, is home to about 500 people. Lots of them are Jewish families like ours. We Jews don't have much choice about where in Russia we can live. We are confined to the area called the Pale - can't live outside it. That's fine with Lidia and me. We've got lots of customers for our bakery right around us. Life isn't easy here, but everybody needs bread, so our business is steady.Or should I say our business was steady? We always feel a little threatened because we are Jews. Some people are always looking for somebody to blame when things aren't going well. The government's no different. Last year, in 1882, things started to get pretty nasty for us. Lidia and I have had some terrors to deal with, and we have some tough decisions to make.

Let me explain. Last year the government passed some new laws. They're making it harder than ever for us to earn a living in peace. Here's what the laws say:

Who wants to live with laws like these? Let me tell you what happened last month. It will explain why our bakery is closed. You see the smashed doors and windows? the ruined ovens? And the house next door is burned to the ground. The bakery was pretty well destroyed. It was some Russian people. They blame us for their bad crops and high taxes, so they come in mobs and destroy our property. Even killed some people in the next shtetl. Here, they wrecked our homes and shops and looted our belongings. Destruction is what they do best. The Secret Police even encourage the rioting. They call it a pogrom. It means death and ruin for Jewish people. We aren't safe in Soligorsk. The future looks bad for our children.

We had a fellow here yesterday. He says his cousin went to a place called Canada. Maybe Canada is a place where we can settle and live in peace.

I wonder?
















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