From Russia (and New York) with love.
Kreina & Boruch
Match #: 383 & 384
I was born in Moscow, Russia. I was a refusenik for nine years, and finally was kicked out from the country by KGB.
I lived in Crown Heights, New York in 1990-1994 in a court of the Rebbe. Fifteen years later I became a struggling single mom in Los Angeles, enjoying my independence and solitude, and developing my artistic skills in creative writing.
I went to Crown Heights for Tishrei. All my friends were talking harshly to me that I had to find a shidduch. I didn't want to listen: I was happy the way I was: independent and creative.
On Simchat Torah someone mentioned a name of a guy from Seattle, WA. A month later I asked my friend, the rabbi, to find out about the guy from Seattle, WA. He contacted Rabbi Levitin on my behalf, and soon I had first shidduch interview with Rabbi Levitin. After questioning me for about half an hour, he said, it would be a good idea, and that he would give my phone number to Baruch Shalom.
A few days later we spoke on the phone. I discovered Barush Shalom also had has profile on JWed.com, and after reading his profile - he made an immediate impression as a my type of a guy! I didn't believe in Internet communication, but since our first telephone contact, we were constantly on E-mail communications or the phone, talking exchanging pictures, articles, poetry, thoughts...
We met six weeks later, in Las Vegas.
We both flew there, and we felt that we knew each other for all our lives. We met three more times for long weekends. Then he came to LA to propose, but he never actually did. He just bought a piece of jewelry for me. Then we had a l'chaim with my friends. Four weeks later I packed everything and came to Seattle.
When we actually stood under the chuppah, and Baruch said: 'Be tabbat hazot at mekudeshet li...' I started to believe that we were actually married! We are saying praises to HaKadosh Baruch Hu every day, since we met. We are happy, Boruch HaShem, and we live in a nice Jewish community.
I tried many times over the last 10 years to find a mate, but could never find someone to whom I could relate as a wife. From the first sentence of the first phone conversation with Kreina I knew she was my beshert. I have never felt that way before.
At my rabbi’s suggestion I called her from work, and afterwards I just wandered around the office saying to whomever would listen,'She’s really different. This is it!' A few weeks later in early December 2004, I was to attend a seminar (I’m an attorney) in Las Vegas, so Kreina agreed to meet me there and spend Shabbat at Chabbad. We had a wonderful Shabbat, and were warmly welcomed and entertained by the community. I couldn’t wait to see her again, so when I planned a trip back east in late December I asked if Kreina could meet me at 770, where we spent a week.
In Crown Heights, Kreina was really in her element. It seemed like everyone knew her; everyone wanted her as a guest for Shabbat; she was greeted excitedly in shul, on the street, in stores, no matter where we went. She had been a heroine in the struggle for Yiddishkeit in the Soviet Union, and was expelled by the KGB in 1990. Upon arrival in the US, with nothing more than a small suitcase and $300, she and others in her group were immediately welcomed to much acclaim. Kreina is very outgoing and friendly, and was a public speaker on many occasions, telling of her colorful life and adventures in the Jewish underground in Russia. She was raised in a secular home in Moscow, and received a good education. She held highly responsible jobs in the Soviet government in Moscow. However, she became very disillusioned about Communist society. She was slowly drawn to the underground movement, and began to meet Jewish activists. She clearly remembers her very first Shabbat, which deeply moved her Jewish soul. When the she saw Shabbat candles lit for the first time in her life, she spontaneously burst into tears. Eventually she applied to immigrate. Her request was denied, she lost her job, and she became a refusenik.
Kreina’s home in Moscow became a center of much underground Jewish activity, sheltering those on the run, welcoming Jews just beginning to learn about Jewish culture and religion, and providing a safe haven for davening. She came to know all of the key players in the underground, and literally risked her life for the sake of her fellow Jews. People would congregate in her home to have l’chaims, share information, and study Torah. For a period of time, her apartment served as a primary location for the performance of the brit milah for Baal T’Shuva’s. Her dining room provided the operating table for dozens of circumcisions. During Shabbat dinners, her amused guests would sometimes ask her if she had properly cleaned the dining table after the last operation.
Kreina kept forbidden underground and religious literature in hiding places for review and study in her apartment. At one point she suddenly had a feeling that she should get this material out of her apartment, so she found another location to hide it. A few days later, near midnight, she heard a loud knock on her door. Outside she found six burly, menacing KGB agents who immediately conducted a thorough search of her apartment. If she had not removed the unlawful publications, she could have been imprisoned or exiled to Siberia, or could simply have 'disappeared.' Luckily, nothing incriminating was found. She was interrogated, released, but soon after this she was ordered to leave the country.
Kreina and I were married at in Seattle on March 17, 2005. It was a beautiful ceremony, with much Simcha. We are living in Seattle now, and are very, very happy to have found each other. We are looking forward to creating a beautiful Jewish home which can become a beacon of inspiration for Jewish life and spirituality for our children and the entire community, baruch Hashem.
Kreina and Baruch, JWed Match #192 were married on 6 Adar 5765, March 17, 2005.
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