‘I Will Never Be Hungry Again’

IFCJ Canada  |  April 2, 2024

(Photo: Diego Galperin)

World War II began just one month after Zoya turned six years old. “My mother did not take me to kindergarten,” Zoya recalls, “and I was very happy about that, but then the terrible days began.”

As Nazis bombed their homes and neighbourhood, her father and brothers would wait on the rooftops, hoping to throw bombs off the roof and prevent damage. Meanwhile, Zoya hid with her mother and neighbours in a bomb shelter. She says, “we sat in the bomb shelter and shuddered from the whistles and explosions of the bombs.”

The whole family finally evacuated to the Ural Mountains where her mother, brothers, and father worked in the salt mines. Then her brothers were sent to the frontlines. Soon after, there wasn’t any work for her mother in the mines, and the family suffered a difficult period where they had no warm clothes and little food.

Somehow, they managed to survive the war years of hunger and cold. And when the war was finally over, Zoya tried to build a life. She went to medical school, met her husband, and had three children.

Still Zoya dreamed of Israel. And in 1991, her family finally made aliyah (immigrated to Israel). “I don’t regret one bit that I chose Jerusalem,” Zoya says. “I love this city, and I admire the people. Here, every piece of land has its own history.”

Even now, when war has come to Israel, Zoya still says she loves her homeland. But the sirens in Jerusalem do remind her of her childhood and the bombings she endured as a little girl. When Zoya heard the sirens for the first time, she says, “I was overcome with such panic that my legs became paralyzed, and I fell. I fell and was badly hurt. I crawled with difficulty to the emergency call button. I am so grateful to The Fellowship for helping me…”

Not only did The Fellowship provide this sweet survivor with an emergency care, but we also continue to make sure Zoya has what she needs during wartime in Israel. “My confidence in your assistance means a lot to me,” she says. “The monthly groceries also make it possible for me to save some money and buy medicine and some fruit…I will never be hungry again, and the horrors of childhood will not be repeated. For this I thank The Fellowship’s donors.”

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