HELPING JEWS IMMIGRATE TO ISRAEL

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“We know it’s not going to be easy”

Larisa Puzanov and Ilienko families

One of the main challenges of relocating to Israel is leaving behind family members, including their elderly parents...

When World War II arrived in Orsha, a small town in West Belarus, Mykhailo’s grandmother was a young Jewish woman. Socialists created a ghetto in her town, so she escaped to a village in the Tambov region and lived there for five years. During her time there, neighbours would throw rocks through her windows in the winter because they were wary of Jewish neighbors living right next door. She eventually came back to Orsha, where she had a baby daughter – Mykhailo’s mother.

The family soon moved to Ukraine after Mykhailo’s father, who was a military man, was stationed there. This is where Mykhailo and his family still live today. It is Mykhailo’s grandparents who always honored their Jewish faith and inspired Mykhailo to stay true to his Jewish heritage, even when faced with anti-Semitism.

Mykhailo remembers how his grandma often cooked Jewish dishes for him to eat. She instilled in him a love of the Jewish people.

This is the main reason why Mykhailo decided to take a Fellowship Freedom Flight to Israel to live with his wife and children. They want their kids to not only have a good education and opportunities to advance in their future careers, but they also want to return to their biblical homeland and reconnect with their Jewish roots.

“Of course, it's not easy to start to learn Hebrew,” says Mykhailo, “but I think for our children, it will not be a challenge, like for us. I’ve never been to Israel before, but our family knows a lot about the country. We love Israel and want to give back to the community.”

According to Mykhailo, Jews are not liked in Ukraine. He says this dislike is not obvious, but he can feel the negativity intuitively: “You can’t find Jews who wear anything that identifies them as such openly in eastern Ukraine,” he says.

While they know moving to a new country with a new culture brings many challenges, they are excited to build a new life. “We know it’s not going to be easy, but we want to try,” says Mykhailo.

One of the main challenges of relocating to Israel is leaving behind family members, including their elderly parents. Mykhailo wishes their parents would come with them to Israel, but his mother, who is 78 years old, refuses to leave the city.

In Israel, Mykhailo hopes to find a job in agriculture because he has experience in this field. His wife, Ziriana, will stay home with their children, or look for a part-time job.

The family feels so blessed to begin a new life in the Holy Land thanks to The Fellowship. They cannot wait to deepen their Jewish faith and live in their true home, Israel!

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One of the main challenges of relocating to Israel is leaving behind family members, including their elderly parents...