Monday, November 4, 2013


I had another kid, a boy that time. He received a Korean name, Sungjoon, but my parents couldn't pronounce it. They called him San Zhuk (which can mean "St. Bug" in Russian), St. John and other Christian sounding - and so weird to a Jewish ear - names. This is how my son became Sonny. He was the apple of his grandmother's eye.  
My parents were Jewish. They weren't brought up in the religious tradition or anything, but when they came from heathen, atheistic Soviet Russia, the Jewish community in New York spent considerable time and money educating them in all things Jewish. That's why they had mezuzahs on every doorpost (little boxes with the bits of religious scroll in them), even if they loved pork and, like every person from Russia, always had bread on the table, sometimes next to the matzos, which is considered to be a sinThey had a hanging for the door, welcoming visitors in Hebrew, but, just in case if the Nazis came, they kept it inside the apartment.   
My sister, who lived in Copenhagen, Denmark, sent and brought with her tons of clothes and presents for her niece and nephew. She and her husband didn't have any children, so they lavished their love on mine.  
They decided to move to the U.S. in the end of the nineties. Since Grisha, my brother-n-law, was going to stay in America illegally, they decided,  following some crazy logic, to go to stand in separate immigration lines at the Atlanta airport (the first leg of the journey to San Francisco). Unfortunately, Lera took Grisha's passport and he got hers, which immediately attracted attention of the Immigration officersGrisha was sent back, but decided to go to Israel instead of Denmark. We couldn't trace his whereabouts for  two days, and so my sister, Lera, lay  on the couchprostrated and crying, during all that time sure that the Ku Klux Klan or Southern Militia in Atlanta did something to her husband. She had her Green Card, though, and stayed with us for about a few months.

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