The True Story of Soviet Jewish Immigration US National Tour: How Many Bushels am I Worth?


WHO: Soviet émigré Bena Shklyanoy and First Hand Theatrical

WHAT: Present The Apple Does Not Fall: Journeys of a Russian-Jewish Family. This US National Tour features an original play, How Many Bushels Am I Worth?, as an eyewitness account of an ordinary family’s experiences living through the Soviet era and the decision to flee the USSR, arriving to the US in the 1970’s with the help of the Save Soviet Jewry movement.

WHY: To commemorate 50 years of Soviet emigration. In Soon after the Six-Day War of 1967, the Iron Curtain opened for Soviet Jews. Families made agonizing decisions on whether to stay or go. With the help of many organizations and the dedication of the Save Soviet Jewry effort, thousands immigrated to the United States in the first wave in the 1970s.

The Shklyanoys – a grandmother, mother, father, and their daughters (ages 18 months and 8 years) – were in that first group.

Those daughters, now assimilated and pursuing their own families and careers, don’t remember life in the Soviet Union: the communal apartments, the long lines for food, or when being Jewish was a stamp on a passport or a reason to get beat-up by a classmate. They want to know their history to tell their children.

HOW: Bena spent 11 years tracing her family’s story, and documented it in a website, Bena partnered with Kevin Olson, Artistic Director of First Hand Theatrical, to create this play that captures the story of life for Jews under the Soviet empire and the large scale immigration of Soviet Jews to the U.S. How Many Bushels am I Worth? garnered extensive media coverage and sell-out shows during its premiere and two-week run at the Piven Theatre in Evanston, IL in August 2018.

Here’s what we bring to your City:

  • A ready-to-go professionally produced play
  • Talkbacks after performances to more deeply connect your community members to the themes of the play
  • Box office revenues (pending sponsorship)

Here’s what a host organization will provide:

  • Marketing support via mailings, newsletters, e-news and invitations to your constituents and the local community
  • Connections to those involved with the Save Soviet Jewry Movement and the Russian-Jewish community
  • Recommendations for a good black box theatre space (with 70-125 seats) are ideal

Fill out our contact form to send us an email!

The film Cultural Inheritance: Stories of Grandchildren of Soviet-Jewish Immigrants is a JUF Russian Jewish Division’s Tikkun Fellowship project by Abigail Matz, funded by Genesis Philanthropy Group