Sergei and Elena Schwartz are married professional cantors, both working at Temple Sinai of Roslyn, the largest Reform Jewish Congregation on Long Island, New York. They both were born and grew up in Dnipro, in what is now Ukraine. They describe growing up under Soviet rule with family inheritance of Jewish identity and religious music despite the Soviet religious prohibitions imposed on Jews, their emigration in the 1980s during glasnost and perestroika, and the journey which led them to Long Island, via Israel.
The Schwartz’s remain tied to Ukraine as their homeland and with family and friends there, enduring constant bombing and loss of infrastructure due to Russian attacks. They describe how they mobilize their congregation to raise funds and find many other ways to help out, including traveling to Poland to counsel and support refugees.
Music heard is a Passover Adaptation of the Ukrainian Song, Zvite Teren Sung by Cantors Elena and Sergei Schwartz with Sergei Schwartz on piano.