The couple came to the United States from Russia in 1977 and then helped the wave of immigrants who came after the fall of the Soviet Union.
When Boris and Enna Sereda came to the United States from Russia in 1977, "it was a brand new experience, not just for the immigrants, but for the country, suddenly to have the influx of immigrants, and the Russians themselves had no direction," said Rabbi Solomon Issacson of Congrgegation Beth Solomon, which has a large Russian Jewish membership.
"They were just happy to be out of the country," Issacson said of the Seredas, who were members of his Orthodox synagogue in Northeast Philadelphia, and others who immigrated around the same time."Most of them were not allowed to come with anything; they had to leave everything in Russia. They lost their jobs because when they applied to leave and come to the United States, they would be fired."
Their community is still reeling from the suspected murder-suicide of the couple, the rabbi said. According to police, Boris Sereda, who owned Sereda Enterprises, a jewelery store on Seventh Street between Sansom and Walnut, shot Enna and then turned the gun on himself on March 21 at their home in Bucks County. Sereda, 65, first developed cancer in 2005 and had been battling it ever since, according to Issacson.
More than 400 people attended the funeral on Wednesday at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks funeral chapel in Southampton. They had two children and three grandchildren.
The Seredas made it much easier for their compatriots who came in larger numbers from Russia to the United States in the late 80s and early 90s during and after the fall of the Soviet Union, Isaacson said.
"They guided them through the process of living in America: What to do, how to do,where to go to do," said Issacson. "They advised them to take classes to learn the language to make their life here in America easier." They and other immigrants were like "a big mispucha," he said.
Isaacson said that he avoided all discussion of the specifics of their deaths in his eulogy "because what I knew of them, it was nothing but love and respect and caring,"
Enna Sereda worked as a manicurist. Boris Sereda first worked at his father-in-law's jewelry business and then opened up his own business more than 30 years ago.
"He was a very active invidual. He liked to ski, play guitar. She liked to cook for people, family, friends," said Issacson. "They loved to socialize with people, and they were always there in case people needed assistance and help"