On September 14, the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv hosted a cultural festival inspired by the Jewish history of the city of Odessa and its connection to Tel Aviv. The festival included musical performances, dance, interactive theater, video and other art installations, as well as various lectures. For 31-year-old festival co-founder and manager Alex Rif, it all started three years ago.“I was going in a totally different direction in my life,” Rif shares. “I had 25 years or so of being totally Israeli. But I have this memory of my first day in kindergarten shortly after we immigrated to Israel, when my mother dressed me up in a white lace dress with white sandals and a big red bow. I came to kindergarten and everyone laughed at me. So I decided from that day on that I didn’t want to be Russian anymore. I didn’t want to speak Russian or have Russian friends, and from then, I did everything I could to become Israeli.”After high school, Rif did a year of community service volunteering, then went on to become an officer in the army. She attained both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Israel and started working for the Economy Ministry in what she describes as a very interesting job.