He was from Russia and she was from Pennsylvania. They met at a synagogue in Savannah, Ga. He played the flute at Friday night services, as well as being the caretaker for the building. The congregation did a fundraiser where small groups of the congregation would get together to cook Jewish specialties to be sold at a street fair.
It could be said, “they met over strudel.” They married and moved to the Ardmore area. They have been married for 21 years this past August.
Evenity Isayev, called Gene in English, is an accomplished flutist. Today, he teaches music and plays with a local band called “Whiskey Logic. The flute and the saxophone are his main instruments. He plays most all instruments, some more accomplished than others.
Jennifer Cohn Isayev is a Licensed Clinical Audiologist. She is an associate of Karen Real and a Fellow at the American Academy of Audiology. The practice likes to stay up-to-date with new technology and new techniques for serving people with hearing loss.
Gene and Jennifer have two daughters. Sophie started college at the University of Florida. Leah is learning to drive and figuring out where she wants to continue her schooling. Rounding out the household are two cats, Jelly Bean and Shy, and one dog, Desmond.
Jennifer could be considered a laid back kind of person. She likes being outside, taking walks, swinging in a hammock, looking up at the sky, reading and just resting.
With Gene’s Russian heritage being in Belarus, tucked away between Poland and Russia. The Isayev family celebrates the Russian New Year, which falls between Dec. 31 and Jan. 10. This is a big holiday because celebrating religious holidays were not allowed during the Soviet Union days.
The agenda for New Year’s Eve, everyone takes a big nap around 3-4 p.m. in preparation to staying up all night long. Around 10 p.m., the family gathers around the dinner table. There are wonderful traditional specialty dishes. To list a few are beet salad, cabbage salad, kholodyets (jellied meat), olive salad, pickles, marinated tomatoes, sausages and meats.
Bet the cooks did not have a chance to nap before dinner.
A New Year’s tree is tucked in the corner with gifts underneath. The gifts are left by Grandfather Frost (a folklore character). Everyone is downing Vodka shots and telling stories while the food is being passed around.
There is dancing, music and singing, which is quite spirited, the vodka always helps. There is the countdown and a champagne toast.
Back to the dinner table for roast duck, cutlyeta, hot potatoes, lamb pilaf, fabulous desserts and tea.
Along with a favorite of Gene’s:
EVENITY FAVORITE OLIVE SALAD
3 hardboiled eggs, peeled
1 jar of dill pickles, diced
1 can of peas, drained
½ lb. of roast beef, diced in 1” cubes
½ onion, minced
½ cup mayonnaise
Simmer potatoes in salted water for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain and cool them in the refrigerator. Peel when ready to make the salad. Dice potatoes and eggs. Fold in dill pickles with peas and onions, add diced meat. Mix in the mayonnaise, salt and pepper until all the ingredients are well coated. Add fresh dill to taste.
As they say in Russian – S-Nomin Godom
As they say in English – Happy New Year!