Thursday night, under a starry, moonlit sky a reunion twenty years in the making, came full circle. 19 years ago, as a newly arrived Shliach to Rego Park, NY, Rabbi Eli Blokh was asked to conduct weekly, Friday services at an adult day care facility catering to Russian speaking Jews.
One of clients with who regularly agreed to put on Tefillin was a sweet, Russian speaking Jew by the name of Yacov Agroskin. Over the span of many subsequent visits, Rabbi Blokh and Yacov became friends and Yacov introduced the Rabbi to his daughter and son in law, Victor and Nina (Nechama) Gaitshkhoki.
With the years, Yacovs grandson, Ilya, became Bar Mitzvah with the Rabbi and the family regularly attended the High Holiday services.
Intrigued by the unusual sounding last name, Rabbi Blokh realized that if the G in the last name was substituted for an H (the soft letter H doesn’t not have an equivalent in the Russian alphabet) the last name is actually Hayitzchoki, the same last name as the legendary Mashpia, Reb Zalman Moshe from Nevel.
And so it was. After some research, it turned out that Victor’s father Boris (DovBer, in his mid-90’s and living in a nursing home in Brighton Beach) was the son of Dovid, brother of Reb Zalman Moshe.
For many years, Rabbi Blokh gently encouraged victor and Nina to make a chupah and this year, on Yom Kippur, Nina said yes! We’re ready.
Rabbi Blokh reached out to a close friend who is family of Reb Zalman Moshe and Shliach in Kings Highway, Rabbi Zalman Moshe Drizin to invite other members of the family to participate in this beautiful celebration.
Thursday night Victor and Nechama, in the presence of their second cousins, members of the prominent Drizin family, got married according to Jewish law on the porch of Chabad of Rego Park.
Victor and Nina were led to the Chupa by Rabbi Chaim Drizin and Rabbi Yossi Mendelson, Rabbi of Congregation Machane Chodosh and Shliach in the neighborhood.
Rabbi Zalman Moshe Drizin shared the incredible story of the original Rabbi Yitzchok, father of Rashi and his tremendous act of self-sacrifice.
Also in attendance were Rabbi Moshe Rubin, historian and chronicler of the Drizin family as well as members of the Chabad of Rego Park community.