Photography by Tom Sandler

Jonathan was born in Caracas in 1979, and Adrianna was born there in 1982. Jonathan’s father was from Cuba and his mother from Bolivia. His father was in the clothing business, and his mother was a psychologist.

Adrianna’s father came from Spain and her mother from Colombia. Both were engineers. Their grandparents were all from Europe: Lithuania, Bulgaria and Austria, and had lost family in the Holocaust. They emigrated after World
War II.

They had a great life in Venezuela, despite some economic difficulties in the country, until Hugo Chavez came to power in 1998.

Murders became commonplace. Chavez was anti-American and anti-Israeli. Synagogues were raided. When Jonathan was growing up, there were up to 40,000 Jews in Venezuela. That was reduced to about 6,000, and presently, there are only a few hundred.

At the age of 15, Jonathan was sent to boarding school at Upper Canada College in Toronto to study English and Canadian culture. He then went to McGill University. Following that, he attended the Fashion Institute in New York for one year. After he went back to Venezuela, his business partner was murdered. Along with most Jews, he decided to leave.

He met Adrianna in 2002 when he returned to Venezuela, and they were married in 2008 in a civil ceremony. They did not have a religious wedding until they moved to Toronto and Adrianna was six months pregnant. His sister, an architect, also lives in Toronto. Their mother lives in New York.

Adrianna’s sister lives in Spain and has a wonderful life there. Spain wants people with Spanish roots to return. Life continues to be challenging in Venezuela, and they do not visit the country. Chavez appointed a successor, and things went from terrible to worse. Despite this, Adrianna’s parents still prefer to live there.

Adrianna is now a full-time mom to their boys, Charles, 7, and Jacques, 3.

Jonathan’s background is in retail, and he now works with Heather Reisman at Indigo in the book division. Jonathan says the best decision in his life was to come here. They feel that they are the luckiest people in the world.