“They feel like they have a connection with him even though they don’t know him.” ~ The McPherson School, KS

Michael Zal

From an article in the Jewish Exponent, Thursday, May 17, 2007:
Michael Zal, who also lives in the Northeast, carried a photo of a wooden spindle that his father had made for his mother years before the Shoah.

Born in what is now the Ukraine, the 79-year-old said he survived several concentration camps before immigrating to what was then Palestine in 1946. He served in the Israeli Defense Force during the War of Independence and eventually made his way to the United States a decade later.

Zal's brother, Solomon Zelmanvitz, had reached the Soviet Union during the war. (Zal Hebraized his last name.) The two brother's did not see each other again until 1977, when Zelmanvitz emigrated and brought with him that very same spindle, which he'd somehow managed to find after the war.

Not only does it symbolize the reunion with his brother, but the spindle is also an object his father made; Zal and his wife both consider it a small miracle that it remained intact and was found.

"I'm just so very proud of him," Zal's American-born wife Libby Forman said of her husband. "He went on to rebuild his life and live in the present."

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