In First Person: Ex-Soviets finally share a chuppah

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

In July 14, 1939, in Belarus in the city of Bobrush, dance parties were held every week. At that time I was a student in college and

I met my husband who was working in a furniture factory. We were married one year later when I graduated. At that time a

marriage consisted of a trip to City Hall — no religious ceremony. A year later we had a son.

In August 1941, World War II started and my husband was inducted the first day. I and my son and my parents left for Russia,

walking all the way. I was pregnant with my second child. We were sent from place to place, ending up in the village of Ivashevka

for four years. I supported myself by working on a farm.

In 1942, a relative living in Moscow received a letter from my husband, and that was how we knew where to reach each other.

He had been wounded three times.

At the end of 1945 my husband found me and neither of us recognized the other. The war had taken its toll on each of us. I

finally knew who he was by the uniform and suitcase! We moved to Minsk and our third child was born in 1950.

It took a long time to get permission to leave Russia but finally in March 1981, we came to San Francisco because our daughter

lived here. Three weeks later I pledged that if I found an apartment before Passover, I would make a Passover dinner. I found an

apartment four days before the holiday and we had a true Passover meal — our first in many, many years.

Sinai Chapel provided us with food and money — we attended English classes at the Jewish Community Center of San

Francisco. Jewish Family and Children's Services supplied us with money.

In 1989 for our 50th wedding anniversary, we had a chuppah at Congregation Anshey Sfard.

We have five grandchildren and soon our great-grandchild will be born.

Despite our difficult times in Europe, we are happy and grateful to be American citizens.

For 10 years we have lived in Menorah Park and are fortunate to be here because it is the best building in the city for older

people. We volunteer our services in Menorah Park, and in Hadassah.