Two lost brothers found each other at a Shabbat table

A chance meeting between two Jewish men turned out to be a family reunion.

September 21, 2019 12:08
2 minute read.
Two lost brothers found each other at a Shabbat table

A candlelight vigil is held at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church for victims of a shooting incident at the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego, California, U.S. April 27, 2019.. (photo credit: JOHN GASTALDO/REUTERS)

Rabbi Eli Ostrozynski met Aron Gerson. Though he didn’t know why at the time.

The two first met when Aron came to Connecticut in order to begin his doctoral studies in sociology. Although they couldn’t properly be introduced at the time, they got back in touch a few weeks later when Gerson took up Ostrozynski's offer for dinner.

While this wasn't the first guest he had ever taken in as part of his work as a Chabad rabbi, this one turned out to be much more than he had originally anticipated, once he found out that Gerson was his long-lost brother.

The story of how this came to be begins with their father, Tzvi. The man was not particularly religious, but did grow up in a Jewish community in Uruguay, with the major influence on his eventual turn to religion being a Chabad rabbi who came to his school. Only upon moving to America at age 19 did he become truly religious, after enrolling in a Chabad school in Brooklyn, where he met his former wife.

Tzvi and his wife were only married a short time before going through a divorce which left him estranged from his son Aron. He later remarried and had three more children, one of whom was Eli.

Eli had always known of the existence of an older brother, though did not know what had become of him, despite some attempts to reach out to him which were unsuccessful.

Once the two did meet, however, many of the details clicked into place, with many of the stories told by Gerson matching perfectly to the family lore told to Ostrozynski by his father.

Gerson had always desired to  meet his lost family members, but he did not want to upset his mother. But after she passed away in 2013, there was no longer anything keeping him back.

After that meeting, the family was reunited, with the two half brothers meeting after so many years, much to everyone's joy.

Chabad is a Hasidic Jewish group that places a great deal of importance on reaching out to all Jews, no matter how religious or not they might be, using every modern means to do so.

For that purpose, Chabad has people all over the world who offer educational and religious services to all who desire them, usually at a low or affordable cost.

In some cases, such as in Russia, a Chabad rabbi is even appointed to be the country's Chief Rabbi.

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