Saturday, February 21, 2009


I have been lost this week in research. I realized that what I know about my family tree is close to nothing. My Mom's parents were a "contemporary Romeo and Juliet" story, their parents (my great grandparents) did not approve of their love and therefore cut all contact with them. My Mom hardly knows anything about her grandparents. All she knows is that they fled from Poland during the Polish-Soviet war from Poland. My grandfather was born in Russia, a couple of years later. I have researched their family name, which so far appears to be a very common Polish-Jewish surname. My Mom promised me to talk with her brother to see if he remembers anything. My uncle still lives in Russia and keeps in touch with one of the cousins of theirs. I certainly hope he'll know some more about the family but I also know that it is nearly impossible due to the alienation of my grandparents from their ancestors. It is so interesting, though.

Both my grandparents died a violent death at a very young age: my grandfather died in a car crash when he was 49. An 18-wheeler hit their car head on, he died at the scene. My grandma was with him, she got severely injured. This all happened before I was even born. My grandma lived to see me as a newborn baby but soon after my birth she committed suicide. She always felt guilty for the death of her husband because she knew he was not very good at driving -- they hardly ever drove anywhere -- and she still insisted on them taking a road trip to see my uncles divorced wife to talk to her and try to convince her not to rip my uncle off everything he had. On their way back they had the accident. The driver of the 18-wheeler was drunk and he admitted to being at fault. He sat in prison for several years for negligent homicide. My uncle kept in touch with him, visited him in prison regularly and forgave him for killing his (and my Mom's) parents. He even filed a request of mercy on the driver's behalf and finally the driver was discharged from prison. I always admired my uncle's generosity and kindness. Both him and my Mom "forgave" the guy and did not want his kids to grow up without their father. I think there is no greater level of forgiveness and generosity. Even though I remember Rabbi Schiftan's teaching about forgiveness, and I even agree with it, I still wish I could be so merciful to someone who took almost everything I love from me.
My grandma was a psychiatrist and my grandfather was in the military -- as a musician. He could play all the woodwind and brass instruments equally well. He stationed, for a while, in Hungary -- in the town where I went to university, Szeged -- and he spoke fluent Hungarian. Which came very handy when my Mom took home her boyfriend (my Dad), who was Hungarian, an international student at the University of Saintpetersbourg (Russia). That is where my parents met.

On my father's side, there is even less information available. His mother died when he was 17, I never knew her. I only saw pictures of her and I know she was from where today Slovakia is. My paternal grandfather was a baker.

Overall, I think this qualifies as my conversion-project. I am going to research more, especially when I go home to Hungary for my upcoming (and last) IVF protocol. I am going to ask the congregation to give me its blessing and dedicate a prayer that I can finally, after so many years, have my only dream come true.

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