Boris Shusteff

Zionist / Israeli Research

Boris Shusteff was born in 1953, in Byelorussia (one of the republics of the former USSR). He received a Masters Degree in Electrical engineering from the Byelorussian Polytechnical Institute. Shusteff emigrated to the USA in 1989. His main hobby is chess and he occasionally coaches chess students.

Shusteff never had a real Jewish or Zionist education as it was absolutely unavailable in the USSR. He taught himself Yiddish and a little Hebrew and learned Jewish tradition from his grandparents. His deep passion for Jewish history led him to some of the classics: to Graetz's "History of the Jews" and Philippson's "History of the Jewish People." He became familiar with Yiddish literature through originals and through Russian translations.

Shusteff was always concerned with events happening in Israel and listening to "Kol Israel" radio station was constant in his apartment. After moving to Riga, he finally found an opportunity to seriously start learning Hebrew. Hebrew was forbidden in USSR and he learned it in so-called "clandestine" groups. He attended lessons in private groups of "refuseniks" that were under constant KGB supervision. His Hebrew teachers finally received permission to make "aliya" in 1988, and he enjoyed visiting them in 1993 during his first journey to Eretz Israel. Shusteff strongly believes that Eretz Israel is the only place where the Jews belong and where he hopes eventually to settle. He oftens says: "This is why I feel the pain of the Jewish state so strongly, since I feel so much that it is my country."

Here in America, he finally got access to all the major Zionist and Jewish sources and, for the last couple of years he stopped playing chess at the tournament level and plunged himself into reading and study. Although he started writing for THE MACCABEAN only in March of this year, it was not his first experience. He used to write and still occasionally writes poetry (in Russian), but has never published them, as the Jewish theme was not honored in the USSR and very few will read them in Russian here.

His readers all attest to the brilliance of his use of Jewish and Zionist sources to weave an article of great relevance to the problems facing Israel today. Shusteff's fond hope is to relay some obvious though significant thoughts to people through his writing. He succeeds.

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