ICEJ Welcomes More Ukrainian Jewish Immigrants with Aid BasketsPublished on: 13.5.2022
By: Anastasiya Gooding
Over recent weeks, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has continued to deliver welcome baskets to hundreds of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants in Israel who were forced to flee their war-torn country with very few possessions. In one of the latest distributions, an ICEJ team visited the homes of several dozen new arrivals from Ukraine who have settled into apartments in Ma’ale Adumin, a growing city located just east of Jerusalem.
The ICEJ delegation was joined by a representative of the mayor’s office as we stopped by to greet the Ukrainian Jewish families who have found safe haven in this modern city on the edge of the Judean desert. We handed over food and aid packages to these immigrant families, and listened to their stories of peril and escape from the ravages of war.
Ida Lvovna is a 92-year-old Jewish lady who came to Israel along with her family at the beginning of the hostilities in Ukraine some two months ago. In their home, we met four generations of her family. Ida is the oldest, while the youngest is only two years old. She explained how it was a bittersweet moment when they were forced to leave their home and come to Israel.
The family greeted our ICEJ staff with gratitude, but some could not hold back the tears as they shared about the men they had to leave behind from their family.
It was a truly moving moment to share with them that Christians from all over the world love and care about them. In response to hearing this news, their hearts opened up to tell their story.
“The first time I had a desire to move to Israel was more than 30 years ago, as soon as my daughter moved here, but not the whole family agreed and so we stayed in Ukraine,” recounted Ida.
Only with this terrible war many years later has the rest of the family finally decided to pack up and move to Israel. And Ida played a key role in the entire family deciding to move at once, as she knew firsthand what war is after surviving World War Two.
“On the day the war began, I said if we don’t leave today, it might be too late tomorrow”, she recalled. “So, we began our long journey to the border, which took two nights and three days.”
The whole family travelled together and finally reached the western border. All seemed well until the sad news hit home that they would have to leave the men of their family behind to help defend the country. This meant Ida had to leave her son and grandson at the border!
At the end of her story, Ida said softly: “I wish that you will always live under a peaceful sky.”
Indeed, we all prayed that the whole family will be reunited soon in their ancestral homeland of Israel.
That same day, our ICEJ team also visited another family who fled from Ukraine. Even though Yana and her daughter Marianna do not have Jewish roots, Israel opened its doors and became a shelter for them. As they left everything behind and fled with only a little bag of clothes and their family cat, the Christian Embassy offered a helping hand amid their stark new reality.
“Thanks to you, the Ukrainian people realized that they are not alone, and they have support,” Yana said with tears in her eyes.
Meanwhile, we also delivered a food package to one of the Jewish families from Russia who finally made Aliyah after a long wait of five years.
“I am so moved by the fact that Israel is open to everyone,” shared Pnina Zubareva, an ICEJ staff member originally from Ukraine. “Today we met a Jewish family from Russia, a Jewish family from Ukraine, and even non-Jewish refugees.”
The ICEJ is so privileged to stand with Israel in supporting these Jewish families and others who have found refuge from war in this beautiful Promised Land. Please support our efforts to bring comfort, encouragement and practical aid during these trying times for new Jewish immigrants escaping the horrors and widening impact of the war in Ukraine.