My great grandmother’s family lived in a small town in the Ukraine called Priluki for a very long time. I was able to trace my family back to about 1760 but they could have been there for hundreds of year before. My great great grandfather was a butcher. He was born in 1830. He died in 1890 when my great grandmother was 13 years old. Her mother had died in 1880 when my great grandmother was just three. Soon after, her sister Rosa left for San Francisco where her older half sister lived. A second sister also immigrated to San Francisco. My great grandmother, Basya followed in 1897. She married in 1898 and had the first of her three children in 1899. I knew Basya well. She lived to be almost a 100 years old and even held my son on her lap. She would tell me stories of Priluki including descriptions of the family’s home, the river she swam in and most importantly about her older brother Aron-Movsha Borodinsky. She always said that I reminded her of him. He was an actor in the local Yiddish Theatre. He also took over the family butcher business. Aron-Movsha for reasons I do not know decided to stay in Priluki. A few days ago, I saw the face of Aron-Movsha for the first time when his granddaughter visited me at my home in San Francisco. She is living in the bay area now. As I wrote earlier the great grandson of Aron-Movsha found me from Israel via the internet. So after a 111 years, the decedents of Basya (my sister and a cousin where here as well) meet the descendent of her brother Aron-Movsha. I learned about what happened to my family in Priluki. How they continued to live in the home where Basya was born. About the children of Aron-Movsha and their children. About how they continued to communicate with the family in San Francisco until the Communist Authorities told them in 1938 that they could no longer answer the mail from San Francisco. About how they fled from the Nazis to Kazakhstan where Aron-Movsha died. About how his daughter Miriam return to Priluki after the war and had a child, the woman that visited my home. I learned about how she with her children left Priluki in 1991 and went to live for a short time in Israel before going to Canada. Eventually she got a green card and moved to the New York. After living there for a long time she decided to move to the bay area even though she knew no one. I wonder if at some level she knew she would find her family. And then her son, who lives in Israel and is currently not allowed to live in the USA found me. And there we were. There we are a family reunited after 111 years.
Here is the photo of Aron-Movsha Borodinsky. His granddaughter made it to San Francisco and now he has made it to the Internet.