In The Fixer, when Yakov first arrives in Kiev, he goes to live in the Jewish quarter (section) of the district called Podol ("po dol" translated "in a water gap") on the Dniepr River. Due to Jewish persecution and regulation, Jews were only allowed to live and work in specified areas (much like the past South African apartheid). The second location mentioned by Bernard Malamud in The Fixer was The Pale. This is a shortened form for Pale of Settlement.
The Pale of Settlement was a vast tract of land that extended to the Austrian-Hungary border. The word "pale" means a stake, or fence post; a confining or enclosing barrier. So the Pale of Settlement in Russia was the area that confined Jews to an enclosed space. The eastern pale (or border) of the Pale of Settlement, also called The Pale, would vary over the decades and at time Kiev was within The Pale and at times it was beyond The Pale.