Final weeks to see Gone 2 Texas exhibit
Photo: Courtesy Fort Worth Jewish Archives
Bernard Zilberg, the bar mitzvah boy, in South Africa

Submitted By Hollace Weiner
“Gone 2 Texas,” the archival exhibit about Soviet and South African Jews who settled in Fort Worth, will be on display only a few more weeks. It is located in the corridor outside the chapel and the library at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen Street.
The show — with its gleaming copper pots, Russian nesting dolls, African stone sculptures and carved Zulu walking sticks — has been expanded to include a video of the late Dr. Bernard Zilberg describing his family heirlooms. Other additions are photo albums with snapshots of Russian refuseniks as they arrived at DFW Airport in the 1980s. Also, a copy of Alex Nason’s recently published memoir, “From Soviet Union to USA: Our Story,” is part of the expanded exhibit.
“Gone 2 Texas” compares and contrasts waves of Russian and South African immigrants and showcases the keepsakes that immigrants brought with them to Texas. Among these prized possessions is a hand-cranked meat grinder that Polina and Michael Kuptsin shipped from the Soviet Union. Also on display are African dolls, beaded jewelry, textiles, sculptures and wood carvings from the collection of Anita Davidson, who grew up in South Africa. Additional sculptures from the Zilberg family have been added to a showcase.
Dr. Zilberg, who died May 31 at age 93, came from a family that immigrated from Poland to Africa and then to Texas. His treasures are the backbone of the exhibit. They will remain on display until Dr. Zilberg’s children — who live in San Diego, New York, and Indonesia — pack up the family home.
The “Gone 2 Texas” exhibit, curated by the Fort Worth Jewish Archives, opened last summer with displays at both Ahavath Sholom and Beth-El Congregation. The latter exhibit was dismantled after Shavuot, and many items were brought across the street to expand the displays at CAS.
For those who missed it, the exhibits will be reviewed in the forthcoming issue of Southern Jewish History, an academic journal published in Atlanta. The review points out the international pressures that led Jews to exit the USSR and South Africa. It highlights the intimacy of the personal objects that refugees brought with them. “What immigrants pack says much about their past and the way they envision their future.”

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