Compromise is the word longtime North York residents Abe and Chava Sloma still use to describe what it takes to achieve a lasting, if not happy marriage.
These two know what they’re talking about – they’ve been married for 75 years.
“Above all, you have to make compromises. You have to talk about everything and be patient with each other, ”said Abe, 103.
“You have to be good to each other and appreciate each other. “
Chava, who is 96, agreed.
“It’s a choice.… When you get together with another person, you have to understand yourself (each other). You have to have the right approach,” she said.
“My husband has a saying: when you start a life together, you have to compromise.”
In a recent interview, the couple’s granddaughter, Naomi Parness, said that even after 75 years of marriage, her beloved Zayde and Bubby are very much in love.
“Every time he sees her he lights up, even after all this time,” she smiles, adding that her grandfather often sings for his grandmother.
The Slomas, who have lived in Willowdale for over 35 years, were married in Poland on November 2, 1946.
Holocaust survivors Abe and Chava were both stationed at the same slave labor camp in Novosibirsk, Siberia, but did not know each other. After the end of World War II, they met and returned to Poland together to find that most of their family members had been killed by the Nazis.
Left with nothing and forced to rebuild their lives, the Slomas decided to leave Eastern Europe in 1949. They lived briefly in Israel before immigrating to Canada in 1951. Initially, Montreal was their home. The couple moved to Toronto in 1985.
Abe worked for many years as a tailor, while Chava was a housewife who took good care of her husband and their two daughters, Anna and Rosie.
They now have two sons-in-law, Harvey and Paul, as well as eight grandchildren (Mitchell, Wendy, Shari, Mike, Naomi, Jon, Leanne and Zach) as well as eight great grandchildren – Noah, Abby, Alex, Emma, Ben, Jake, Sloan and Charlie.
And although the Slomas never had much money, Abe and Chava said they saw their family as “their wealth” and made a concerted effort to instill in each member their strong family values.
“(When we started) we had no one. Our great achievement is that we now have a family, ”said Abe, who said he was grateful for the many blessings they have received over the years.
“I think we have accomplished a lot of good things. “
Just six weeks ago, Abe moved into a long-term care facility at Baycrest Health Sciences. This change hasn’t been easy for the couple, who have literally spent every day together for nearly eight decades. As Chava visits Abe several times a week at the Bathurst Street facility, the hope is that one day they can both live there.
“It was a difficult transition. … My grandparents need each other. They are very attached, ”said granddaughter Naomi.
Last Sunday, Abe was delighted to reunite with his united family to celebrate 75 years of marriage to Chava.
Mayor John Tory even sent his greetings to the couple, gifting them with a framed scroll in his name and that of Toronto City Council, along with a personal video message.
“You two have lived such admirable and inspiring lives, both through incredible hardship and wonderful success, especially including your wonderful family,” he said in the video.
“I wish you a wonderful 75th birthday. I hope I can celebrate the next step with you. We are on our way to 80 years. I will be there. All the best.”