Wednesday, January 31, 2007


As my potential embryo recipients, my wife and I were discussing the issues involved in giving Jewish embryos to a Christian couple, an interesting thing happened: our family got larger.

We received an email out of the blue from a man in Israel who was working on the geneology of his mother's side of the family. She shared the surname of my great-grandfather and she had passed along the knowledge that relatives of hers lived in the city where my family lived for many generations. One branch of the family had moved elsewhere and here they were, generations later, reaching out to us again. My wife, Sonia, resumed her geneaological research, sharing information with him in hopes of rediscovering the link.

The following week an even odder thing happened. We reconnected with the children of my great-aunt, who also live in Israel. Decades ago my mother had their contact information but, never having met them, I did not get it from her or make any attempt to connect.

What's more, the daughter of my great-aunt was visiting the city where I live. Working around a pretty difficult language barrier (my Hebrew is limited to blessing food before dinner) I immediately invited her to come to lunch with her daughter and new grandson.

For Sonia, genaology is like a mystery novel. She is now working on finding the names of all of my great-grandmother's children. Perhaps my second cousin could help provide some clues. Her mother was one of only three cousins to escape the Nazis. She had lived in the old country, and personally known my great-aunts and -uncles, and even my great-grand-parents. But most Holocaust survivors refuse to discuss their war-time experiences with their children. Had my great-aunt found the strength to do so?