“It will be wonderful to live close to our grandsons and enjoy the rest of our lives together with our loved ones,” says 58-year-old Tetiana who just arrived in Israel on a Fellowship Freedom Flight with her husband Alexander, 61. The couple made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from Ukraine to join their daughter and two grandsons who live in Haifa. They also moved to escape war-torn Ukraine.
Life under fire started in 2014, and brought many restrictions to the couple. When the conflict began, the authorities took away Tetiana and Alexander’s freedom to visit the graves of their perished loved ones who were buried in the Lugansk region. The area is where most of the immediate fighting took place, and the graves simply became off-limits. But the couple missed having this connection to their family.
Their new life in war-torn Ukraine felt foreign. “When we look back at the years we spent in Ukraine, we no longer see anything that is still the same or connecting us to the land that had always been our home.” The war hurt Ukraine’s economy and forced Alexander’s company to make employee cuts. He was one of the first to be laid off. “Alexander was the main breadwinner for us,” says Tetiana. “He lost his job due to his age in the process of staff cuts carried out by his employer. The financial crisis in Ukraine seriously hurt us.”
Yet even in financial crisis, the couple held onto hope. Tetiana felt grateful for their health and believed that one day they would find a way to join their daughter in the Holy Land. Alexander held onto his passions in life, like swimming. “Swimming has become not only his hobby but his true love. He participates in competitions and became the champion of Ukraine in his age category,” says Tetiana. “He also works as a swimming coach training real champions.”
Now in Israel, Alexander hopes to continue swimming. “We have a lot of hopes and dreams for our life in Israel,” says Tetiana. “We want to work hard and eventually become full-fledged and productive citizens of Israel.”
Tetiana knows she owes her bright future to The Fellowship and our wonderful donors: “I don't even have the words to express the gratitude we feel towards the people who have helped us both directly or indirectly move to Israel. The entire aliyah process was very smooth. The work you’re doing is wonderful. We truly appreciate the generosity of the donors.”
Tetiana and Alexander now get to see their grandsons and daughter every day, something they sorely missed in Ukraine. Thanks to Fellowship Freedom Flights, more new olim (immigrants) like Tetiana and Alexander get to live out their dreams of making aliyah, finding hope and happiness in the Holy Land.Find out how you can help more Jews make Israel their home.