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President Villu Tari appeal
27. April 2013 in Newton MA
Our small but active Boston Estonian Society (BES) celebrated its 77th birthday a week ago on the 19th of April - a noteworthy event indeed; not only because two sevens next to one another are a pretty number or because looking at someone who has achieved that age brings a sense of awe and admiration for the experiences and wisdom garnered during that time.
Speaking for BES and especially as its president, I feel that sense of awe and admiration as a result of contact with the current administration and with all the tens and hundreds members from the past and present who with united goals permit a sense of unity and dreams for the future.
I sifted through a bit of our archived documents last week. 77 years is a long time during which we have seen many noteworthy events. Individuals and whole families have signed their names to guestbooks, and then suddenly decades later have disappeared. New families step forward and only a few pages later no longer exist. Together we have faced moments of crisis and times of rejoicing when gathering places were filled with revelers looking only for a reason to celebrate.
Questions have often been asked of me, primarily by folks living in my homeland, looking for opinions about what might be the future of Estonians abroad and what the role of our societies might be going forward. There are those who wonder if we even have a future or do we simply plod doggedly along as in the past.
I cannot forsee the future yet enjoy historical research, for our future might be reflected there. And my honest appraisal based on what I have seen is that as long as there are Estonians who emigrate from their homeland – no matter the reason – there will continue to be Estonian Societies in the US and throughout the world. The ebb and tide of emigration is reflected in history of those societies.
Of great interest recently was a documentary series where many of those interviewed murmured those same sad sentiments. New York, our own Boston, and now Washington DC provide a more optimistic view which can be unemotionally supported. New York has always been a magnet, for more than Estonians. Here in Boston our vitality is supported by the Universities’ draw and Washington, after Estonia’s refound independence, has newly created and expanding diplomatic presence.
Look around you in this hall today – whom do we see? This is not the time to point fingers but let’s be honest – with a few exceptions most of the participants (both young and old) have one way or another come from Estonia. Estonia has left a permanent path in our hearts which we long to trod again.
The Estonian cultural landscape in the diaspora continues to change and that is inevitable. Changes were evident on the eve of the establishment of BES and again in the 50’s before the war refugees relit the fuse of the societies. Today we see the younger generation from Estonia around us again, with a variety of reasons for being here, be it school, work, creation of families, or simply to conquer the world.
I am genuinely happy that these young people are amongst us, and yet feel a twinge of regret that they are not joined by peers of Estonian heritage who were born outside of Estonia.
If I have any concerns about current and future Estonian societies then it is that we have not been able to develop a sense of active participation in those who only passively acknowledge their ethnicity and occasionally play the tourist in Estonia. Their heritage should be regarded as a basic treasure that doesn't fade in the neon lights and pop culture that surrounds and entices today’s generation. One can but hope that at some point we find some yet to be discovered reason for this generation to feel a stronger draw to their heritage and at the same time provide a desire to share that culture with others.
This has been of concern through the ages, in the decades of Estonian immigration and emigration. And this 'concern' doesn't only belong to the leadership of our societies to solve but belongs to all of us, including those (with Estonian backgrounds) who have entered middle age. To those of you who are here today – we
commend you. Faith, hope and love ... the greatest of these is love. Cherish that love, as that little bit of land on the Baltic of your forefathers loves you.
While I don’t include myself as a senior citizens in the organization just yet, as I tilt in that direction, today I seriously and whole heartedly lift my hat in front of you young women and men who with your energy, creativity and most importantly sense of duty have chosen to carry the BES flag forward. May you be blessed!
Long live Estonia! Long live the Boston Estonian Society!
Translated by Riina Viise
English translation coming soon. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Currently our folkdancers are busy preparing for the upcoming ESTO dancefestival. They will have to be ready to perform almost twenty different dances. Some dances are already familiar to both the dancers and the home crowd, but there are also many new dances to be learned. So the home crowd would not miss out on all of these dances, Tulihing invites everyone to a culture evening.
Sunday, May 12th at 5:00PM at the Scandinavian Living Center (206 Waltham Street, West Newton, MA).
The evening will be filled with folkdances that Tulihing dancers have been able to learn by that time. There will also be a chance to hear real Estonian bagpipe music and much more. If you would like to contribute to the evening by performing in some shape or form, please contact our folkdance teacher email@example.com.
There will be a donation box on the door. All proceeds will go to support our folkdancers trip to ESTO.
Come support your folkdancers!
Will take place on May 12th at 3:00PM at the Scandinavian Living Center chapel (206 Waltham Street, West Newton, MA).
Service will be held by Rev Valdeko Kangro. Music will be provided by soprano Epp Sonin accompanied by Andrei Baumann on the piano. Worship service will be held in Estonian.
This April the Boston Estonian Society marks its 77th anniversary. This is the perfect time to reflect on what we have achieved, but also plan for the future. The Boston Estonian Society will hold it's general meeting. After the meeting let's all sit down, enjoy some savouries, listen to some live bagpipe music and perhaps even do a few dances. It will be an authentic village gathering. BES will provide finger sandwiches, all other delicacies are welcome.
Sunday, April 27th at the Scandinavian Living Center (206 Waltham Street, West Newton, MA). Doors open at 2:00PM and meeting starts 2:30PM.
BOSTON ESTONIAN SOCIETY'S GENERAL MEETING
- Summary of last year.
- Elections: BES president and vice-president.
- Discussion on updates to our constitution and by-laws.
- Discussion on raising membership fees by $5 in 2014.
- The Boston Estonian Society asks all members to pay their 2013 annual dues. Download: Membership Dues Coupon
- If an active member of the Boston Estonian Society is unable to attend the general meeting then we ask them to authorize a member of the executive board or any other active member to represent them. Download: Voting Proxy
- If you would like to become an active member of the Boston Estonian Society please fill out the request form and the membership dues coupon. Download: Membership Application
PS: All form are available on our website www.bostoneesti.org/downloads