The other day Bel Kaufman came to the restaurant to celebrate her 96th birthday. I first met her in 1966 when she was visiting the Soviet Union and a mutual friend of ours who worked at the Union of the Soviet writers brought her to my lecture on Hemingway at the Institute of Foreign languages. Bel Kaufman had just published a book that immediately became a great success in America. Soon it was made into a movie which made her visibility even greater. Apart from the feet that she is an established author she is also the granddaughter of Sholom Aleichem who is considered a great author in the yidish language. Her husband Sydney is also 96 and they have been coming to the Samovar since 1986, the year the restaurant opened. Bel still takes dancing classes and invites everyone to come and celebrate her 100th birthday. An evening with her is always “happiness”. She speaks Russian flawlessly and likes to impress and fascinate everyone with the stories she tells. Later on, on the same night a group of beautiful international singers came and they performed a multitude of Italian, French and German arias. They were amazed at the skill that Alexander Izbitser, our regular musician displayed, not only knowing the music for every song or aria they sang but also at the ease that he remembered all of them. The guests of the restaurant went berserk. The singers said it was an incredible evening and hugged and kissed Alexander for his incredible accomplishments.