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Stories From The Field

Stories of Jewish people we’ve helped make aliyah (emigrate to Israel).

April 15, 2017 – Ella and Alexei Z from Rostov-on-Do

Ella and Alexei are making Aliyah with their daughter, Sofia. Ella’s parents have lived in Israel for 7 years already and have seriously thought of returning to Russia twice. Ella doesn’t believe they would be happy back in Russia so she wants to go to Israel to support them. Ella believes that staying together with them her parents will feel needed. In the 7 years they have been there Ella has regularly visited Israel and lived with the idea that she’d like to live in Israel herself! Ella’s eldest son recently made Aliyah under the Naale education program. At first Alexei didn’t share his wife’s desire to move to Israel but after their son made his Aliyah he changed his mind and supported Ella to make this move.

Ella’s hopes and dreams of life in Israel are centred round the success of her son and her husband (who is an engineer by profession). They are going to Israel through a professional program for programmers. Ella plans to learn Hebrew and then find her place in the field of work.

It is hard for them to leave friends, the way of life they are used to. However, Ella’s parents and son are in Israel so they leave with a positive attitude.

April 5, 2017 – Roman and Alina S from Simferopol, Crimea

Roman and Alina made Aliyah with their son Daniil. Roman tells their story: Life became very difficult here in Crimea with work. The wages in Crimea are lower than in mainland Russia and the prices are high. I served in the army in the internal troops in Sevastopol and we were promised that we would not have problems with working in the Police. For almost six months I’ve been going to our local Interior Ministry but I don’t get a clear answer anywhere and eventually almost became desperate.

We don’t see a normal future here for ourselves or for our son. In Israel there are great opportunities for children in every area. This is not only an opportunity to get a good education and have a good job but we want our son to be taught the moral and spiritual principles that are in Israel.

I was in Israel two years ago on the TAGLIT program – and I really liked it there. I wasn’t ready to make Aliyah then. Firstly I hoped I could organise my life here first and secondly my parents also weren’t ready to let me go.

Now I’m married and we have a son and I became responsible for my wife and child. When we began to face a number of difficulties in work my wife and I thought more and more about making Aliyah. We took the final decision six months ago when we talked on skype with my friend who made Aliyah a year ago. When I was in Israel I saw for myself what opportunities there are for me there and this communication with my friend helped me to remove all doubts. After this conversation my wife and I made our final decision.

Once in Israel the first thing is to get a job and become part of Israel. I’d also like to serve in the IDF if they will take me. Of course, I want to have material stability and we dream of a second child in Israel.

I had several cases of anti Semitism when I was a teenager in school. But these were one-off cases. For me these moments were very unpleasant. It seems to be nothing – some guys sometimes calling me a Yid; it sounded like a joke – but it offended me very much. It even came to a fight several times. I could stand up for myself. Perhaps if I’d been a little weaker there would have been many more such cases. After school I didn’t experience this any more.

My grandmother told me that during the war many relatives of her mother were buried alive by the Nazis – about 20 of them, women, children and old people. They all lived then in the Zhitomir region in Ukraine. They refused to evacuate when the Germans were advancing. Only six people survived, including my grandmother.

Leaving family and friends behind feels a bit as though we’re a leaf that’s fallen from that tree. Our decision to make Aliyah was very painful for my mother and she was very worried. But seeing the firmness of my decision she gave up, understanding that the prospects for us and our child are much greater in Israel than here. It is very surprising that people absolutely unknown to us showed their concern for us. Many, many thanks!

March 15, 2017 – Nino and Beka M from Ozurgeti, Georgia

Nino and her husband Beka made Aliyah along with their daughter, Mariam. Nino tells their story.

My great grandmother and great grandfather arrived in Georgia by ship during World War II. They settled here and never thought to go back. After my marriage to Beka we started to live in the capital city, Tbilisi but later, because of lack of finances (only Beka was working) to pay rent etc. we moved into the area my husband came from. This is 320 km from Tbilisi. This was not an easy time for us but we are happy as somehow we both got jobs and had enough money to live on.

Later our daughter Mariam (Maria) was born. Unfortunately she contracted viral encephalitis and needs treatment. Here in Georgia we were promised surgery but with no guarantees on the results. We sent the analysis to Israel and got a positive answer that treatment could be done through medication and that there was a good expectation she would fully recover. So we decided to make Aliyah. We are a young couple and believe that we can achieve all kind of things there, also for our child. She will be healed and that is what we dream about.

We had to prepare and certify our documents and we’re very thankful to Ezra. Our contact with them was very important. I’m thankful that we had a warm relationship and also received financial help.

March 5, 2017 — Oleg and Marina A from Feodosia, Crimea

Oleg and Marina are making Aliyah along with two of their children – Daniil and Anna-Esther. Oleg tells their story:

We are making Aliyah because of our faith. We are Karaites* and we celebrate Shabbat. There is a fellowship of Karaites here in Feodosia which has 10 members (including our family of six people). We are afraid for the future of our children. We do not have a fellowship which is alive enough for them – where they can find friends. We are afraid that our children will not follow the customs and celebrate holidays which are important to us.

In 2012 our eldest son went to Israel as part of the Naale education program. This year I visited Israel. I was able to visit Karaite fellowships in Jerusalem and Ashdod. I felt very comfortable there. After this visit the desire grew in my heart for us to make Aliyah. The final decision was made a year ago. Two factors made this possible. Firstly I could see an end to things here in Feodosia – my ‘mission’ here had come to a dead end. Almost all our Karaites became either atheist or joined the Orthodox church. This is very painful for me. The second reason to make Aliyah is that our second son wants to go to Israel also as part of the Naale program. We see that step by step our children are leaving us and it will be difficult to have any influence on their lives in the future. We are very stressed about their spiritual life.

When we arrive in Israel our first priority is to become part of a Karaite fellowship. We’re a bit anxious as to how they will receive us. Our other hopes are concerned with day to day life – work and other things related to practical life issues.

It wasn’t easy for me to make this decision to go to Israel. I think this was mainly because the Karaites, my ancestors were one of the nations who had roots in Crimea. If it wasn’t for me wife I probably would never have made this decision. Also, of course, it’s hard to leave the family and friends we have here but we hope we can visit from time to time.

We are very grateful to Ezra. Without their help I don’t know how we would have managed. It wouldn’t have been possible for our whole family to go to Moscow to see the consul – this is a big expense for us. It also meant a lot that you took us to the airport and paid for our extra luggage – this was such a big help for our family and that is why we would like to thank the sponsors very much.

*Note on the Karaites: The Karaites only recognise the Tanakh. Karaites maintain that all the divine commandments handed down to Moses by God were recorded in the written Torah without additional Oral Law or explanation. They do not recognise the oral law and therefore don’t accept the Midrash or the Talmud. The first written mention of them in Crimea is in the 14th century. Many Karaim deny ethnic Semitic origins (as this family).

February 15, 2017 – Vitaly Z from Perm

“I want to make aliyah because Israel is my historical homeland”, said Vitaly. Making Aliyah for Vitaly also means being reunited with family members who are already living in Israel. He doesn’t find it all difficult or painful to be saying goodbye to Russia.

Ezra helped with getting his international passport. “A huge thank you, Ezra”, said Vitaly.

February 5, 2017 – Artem and Darya S from Chelyabinsk

Artem is making Aliyah with his wife Darya and daughter Eva.

Artem studied in a Jewish school connected with the synagogue. He is a little sad that his parents did not send him to Israel on one of the education programs when he was a teenager. Now he feels that making Aliyah will give new opportunities for his family’s future.

The couple are not afraid of facing difficulties. They are full of optimism, are very decisive and have a healthy outlook on life. Artem and Darya both have an education in banking but understand that they will not be able to work in their current profession in Israel. They are not discouraged about this. At the beginning they really want to concentrate on mastering Hebrew to a good level and then will look for work. The only thing they feel a little sad about is that their family members are staying on in Russia.

Ezra helped with the international passports for this family, also with covering the costs of a journey to the consul in Moscow. On departure day they also took the family to the airport.

“A big thank you to Ezra from the bottom of my heart!” said Artem, and continued “You helped us a lot and helped our preparations for making Aliyah.”

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