Chisinau, June 10, 2012 – An emotional event took place this weekend when Matthew Bronfman, of New York, visited the town of Ataki, Moldova, where his family legacy began. This is the first time a member of the Bronfman family has visited Ataki since Matthew’s grandfather, Samuel Bronfman, immigrated to Canada at the end of the 19th century.
Matthew Bronfman is currently visiting Moldova in conjunction with the first-ever Limmud FSU Moldova Conference, in which Matthew Bronfman is the chair of the International Steering Committee for Limmud FSU. The conference is taking place today, where over 400 young Jews from Moldova and the southern region of Ukraine are coming together in the city of Chisinau.
In his visit to the town of Ataki, Matthew Bronfman was honored by the Mayor of Ataki, Tragira Vasiliy, with a special welcoming reception. During the ceremony, he was also awarded as an honorary citizen.
Matthew Bronfman receiving the honorary citizen award of Ataki with the Founder of Limmud FSU Chaim Chesler and the Mayor of Ataki, Tragira Vasiliy.
“The Bronfman family is part of Ataki history,” said Mayor Vasiliy. “This is a great honor for us that Matthew Bronfman came back here. He is part of our family and we look forward to seeing the rest of the Bronfman family again soon.”
“I am very emotional and excited to be here today, more than 120 years after my grandfather, Samuel, immigrated with my family to Canada. This is a very important day in my life,” said Matthew Bronfman during the ceremony. “As you all know, I was born in the United States, my father was born in Canada and my grandfather was born here in Ataki, Moldova. My heart belongs to all three of these countries.”
In his visit to Ataki, Matthew Bronfman also met with Baron Arthur Cherar, the leader of Gypsys around the world who is also known as the “The Gypsy King”. Cherar lives in a town called Soroki in Moldova, known as the Gypsy capital of the world, containing the largest gypsy community. Baron Cherar spoke about the relationship between Jews and Gypsys and the common history that they shared, including how both were viciously persecuted by the Nazis during the Holocaust.