Photo taken in:Mogilyov-PodolskiyYear when photo was taken:1968Country name at time of photo:USSRCountry name today:Ukraine
Sitting: my older sister Lubov Geizel and her husband Aron Geizel. Standing: Aron's daughter Yevgenia Shiniavskaya (nee Geizel) and her husband Gordey Shiniavskiy. This photo was taken in Mogilyov-Podolskiy in 1968.
In 1946 my sister Lubov married Aron Geizel from Mogilov-Podolski, a widower, and moved in with her husband. His wife died after the war and he had two teens: daughter Yevgeniy and son Boris. They entered the Vinnitsa Polytechnic College after finishing school and left their home. My sister's adoptive children treated her like one of their family and I was happy for my sister.
When my mother was with us we celebrated all Jewish holidays. Of course, we did it in secret - if someone got to know about it, I wouldn’t have worked one day as a teacher. On Sabbath my mother lit candles and prayed and we had a festive dinner, but for me and for my sisters it was a tribute of respect of our mother and not a need. Before Pesach my mother baked matzah in the gas oven and cooked gefilte fish and chicken broth. She watched it that we didn’t have any bread at home on Pesach. At home we had quiet celebrations. My sister Lubov and her husband Aron visited us. My mother died in 1968. We buried her in the Jewish cemetery according to the Jewish traditions, as she had requested. My sisters or I didn’t celebrate any Jewish holidays after she died.
I felt different about the mass emigration to Israel that started in the early 1970s. I didn’t blame these people, but I honestly did not understand what they were looking or hoping for in another country. My older sister Lubov’s adoptive children moved to Israel. They have a good life there. They correspond with my sister and occasionally send her money.
The Jewish life began to revive during perestroika. A Jewish community began to work in Mogilov-Podolski, there are Jewish newspapers and magazines. The community supports older people. This is the first time in my life, when I feel well provided for. I receive a pension and the community helps me. When my sister Lisa died in 1994, the community made all arrangements and payments for the funeral. Lisa was buried near our mother’s grave in the Jewish cemetery in Mogilov-Podolski. My sister Lubov’s husband Aron Geisel died that same year. We decided it would be better if she moved in with me. My sister is weak and needs care. The community helps us a lot. They deliver hot meals to us. A visiting nurse takes great care of us. The community celebrates Jewish holidays. I used to attend them, but now it’s become difficult. My friends and former pupils visit me.