My father’s 22nd yahrzeit (Hebrew calendar anniversary of his death) fell on the weekend of a bar mitzvah we attended in Charlotte, North Carolina. While out-of-town on the occasion, it meant a lot to me to be at services celebrating another religious event.
The windows of Temple Israel in Charlotte would have appealed to my father. While not shomer Shabbos (strictly Sabbath observant), religion was important to him, and he was interested in mechanics, particularly how things were made.
As part of his speech, the bar mitzvah spoke about our G-d being forgiving, and he went on to thank his parents for always forgiving him. Standing to join in the mourner’s kaddish (prayer for the deceased) gave me the opportunity to once again ask my father for forgiveness, knowing that he is watching from above with a parent’s love and approval.
How we came to be invited to Ian’s bar mitzvah in Charlotte is another story. His grandmother has been more than dabbling in genealogy for a number of years, as have I. At some point, she sent a short story about her ancestry to a cousin on my husband’s paternal side, indicating that all Neidichs were from Pinsk and related to Golda Meir.
Acknowledging my interest and devotion to our ancestry, the cousin forwarded Linda’s packet to me. To make a long story short, my husband and I have been friends with the bar mitzvah boy’s grandparents for 25 years now, and we also met Ian, his sister Alexa and their parents, on several occasions along the way.
This past June, Linda and her husband Kenny were in New Jersey for our daughter’s wedding. That weekend, Linda told me she had her DNA tested by Ancestry.com, and asked me to take a look at the results on her iPhone.
We always thought that Linda and my husband Arnee were somehow related, since his paternal grandmother was a Neidich from Pinsk, and a second cousin to Golda Meir. i gasped when scrolling down the list of Linda’s genetically determined relatives. Suddenly, my niece’s name, my own brother’s daughter, appeared on the long list!
I ask you, “What are the chances?”