HELPING JEWS IMMIGRATE TO ISRAEL

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Living with Constant Shelling

Elderly women and her family

“She has survived the Holocaust, Jewish deportation, the Holodomor Terror-Famine, World War II, and now the war in Donbass. She’s a hero!”

When hostilities began in Donetsk, Ukraine, Oleksi and Ganna decided to take their children to their summer home located in a quiet village away from the immediate conflict.

Then, in 2014, the fighting reached their summer home. They found themselves right in the middle of fighting between the Ukrainian army and the rebels. Explosions and gunfire circled around them.

“Everything started to explode,” says Ganna. “We wanted to leave the village we were in, but the bridge that connected the two banks of the river was blasted from both sides. It seemed like a nightmare when it started. Planes flew over our home dropping bombs. Everything was exploding extremely close.”

One day, as the Ukrainian army advanced, militants evacuated the city of Popasna in Lugansk. Ganna and her children heard the sound of shelling and bombing, so they hid under the kitchen table.

“We didn’t have any basement in the summer house, so the table seemed to be the only shelter I could think of,” Ganna says. “Of course, my son Yehor made me laugh. He understood the table wasn't going to save us. When the shelling started, we went outside and started to search for a basement somewhere.”

While the family did think of moving to Israel before the war, Ganna didn’t want to leave her parents and grandmother behind in Ukraine. But recently, her parents passed away. Her mother had been sick for a long time. When she passed away, Ganna’s father died just a month later. Ganna moved her grandmother from Donetsk to Kiev because she didn’t want her to live alone.

Because Ganna’s grandmother, Dusia, already successfully relocated to Kiev, the family wondered if she would consider moving to Israel with them. The idea of returning to the historical homeland of the Jewish people excited Dusia, and she agreed to relocate with the family. “All of our knowledge about our Jewish origins comes from our grandmother,” says Ganna. “Her family even speaks Yiddish. She has survived the Holocaust, Jewish deportation, the Holodomor Terror-Famine in Ukraine by USSR authorities, World War II, and now the war in Donbass. She’s a hero!”

Ganna feels so blessed to be making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) with The Fellowship, and finally escape the uncertainty of war in Ukraine. Ganna’s sister already lives in Israel, and Ganna can’t wait to join her.

“It's thanks to the seminars The Fellowship provided that our family has a clear understanding of what we should expect,” says Ganna. “At the seminars we learned a lot about the aliyah process, In addition, the financial support of The Fellowship is very generous. We now have concrete plans of what to do in Israel. Thank you!”

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“She has survived the Holocaust, Jewish deportation, the Holodomor Terror-Famine, World War II, and now the war in Donbass. She’s a hero!”