After fleeing from the same city in Poland to escape the Nazis in the 1930s, Ruth Brandspiegel’s family and Israel “Sasha” Eisenberg’s family eventually found themselves at Hallein Displaced Persons Camp in Austria in 1946. The two groups became fast friends, to the point where they considered each other family, but they lost touch when Sasha’s clan moved to Israel in 1949.
Unbeknownst to them, both Ruth and Sasha later ended up in the U.S., where they each made lives of their own. Now, more than 70 years later, the two friends have reunited, and it’s all thanks to a serendipitous Yom Kippur Zoom service!
These days, Ruth lives in Philadelphia, but she attended an online service for the East Brunswick Jewish Center in New Jersey, where her son is a cantor.
During the virtual event, she heard the name Sasha Eisenberg and immediately perked up. She wondered if it could be her long-lost friend and later asked her son to look into it for her.
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As it turns out, it was the same boy she had grown so close to as a child! Once Sasha heard the news, he was equally thrilled.
“I called it a miracle because I don’t see any other way that humans can organize such an event and make everything come together,” he told the Associated Press.
Ruth’s son helped the forever friends set up a socially-distanced reunion so they could catch up! They ended up talking for hours, crying and reminiscing about their time together and sharing stories of their lives apart. Since then, the two of them have continued to meet online.
“It was something that I never expected, and this was something that gave me so much pleasure that I’m just crying,” Ruth said.
Despite being apart for more than 70 years, these two clearly have a bond that no amount of time can undo! We’re so happy for them!
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