A Second Chance
As she prepares to celebrate Hanukkah, Lenina could look back on her hard life. At 84 years of age, she survived not only the Holocaust carried out by the Nazis, but the Soviets’ communist rule, as well. Both of these cruel eras not only took away faith traditions from Jews like Lenina, but took their lives, as well.
But Lenina survived the Holocaust. And she survived to see the Soviet Union fall. Through it all, she also held tight to her faith, celebrating the Jewish traditions and holidays through dangerous times, and growing in her faith even as she grows older.
Lenina even continued to give back to the local Jewish community in her native Ukraine. “I taught math to children even in my older years,” she tells us. “I enjoy seeing their young minds discover new skills and the joy on their faces when they succeed. That was all taken from me with the onset of the pandemic.”
Yes, after surviving so much, Lenina nearly did not survive the COVID-19 pandemic. For two months Lenina was hospitalized, fighting for her life. She survived and returned home, but the damage the virus left will impact her for years to come. Her lungs have been badly damaged, she has terrible inflammation of the joints, and was left significantly weaker than she was before. Yet Lenina is deeply grateful, “I feel like I have been given a second chance at life.”
And Lenina’s life is now brightened when IFCJ Canada volunteers arrive at her door with food and other gifts from friends around the world. And Lenina’s face will soon glow with joy when IFCJ Canada friends arrive with a menorah for Hanukkah, a reminder to this precious child of God that it is through His grace and miracles that she has a second chance.