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Faces of The Fellowship: Esfir

Esfir_14552006 (photo: JDC/Vladimir Shraga)

Esfir, 79, was born in a small town in Ukraine three years before the outbreak of World War II. When the war began, her family fled to Vinnitsa, Ukraine, where they felt they had a better chance of surviving. Vinnitsa had a ghetto, but Esfir’s family was fortunate – a Christian family hid them in a shack in their backyard. 

The family returned home after the war, only to find that their house had been destroyed in the fighting; not a scrap was left. 

Despite her traumatic early childhood, Esfir has fond memories of their return home, including her first meeting with the classmate who eventually became her husband. The couple met when they were just seven. Esfir used to joke that they were together for so long she was tired of him.

Now Esfir longs for those days. Her husband passed away many years ago, at the age of 56, and every day Esfir mourns his loss. 

The couple’s only son lives in Moscow, where he recently suffered a heart attack. Esfir is worried sick, but her own health is too fragile, and her finances too strained, for her to visit him. 

Esfir has heart disease and chronic bronchitis. A few years ago, she went blind in one eye, when the hospital electricity shorted out in the middle of her cataract surgery. 

The Fellowship and Hesed, an organization we partner with and also support, have become Esfir’s family. Hesed provides her with homecare, warm blankets in the winter, and assistance paying her utility bills. The Fellowship helps Esfir by paying for food and medicine. Thanks to The Fellowship’s assistance, Esfir is no longer forced to choose between the two. And she’s once again surviving thanks to the kindness of Christians! 

Learn how you can help impoverished elderly in need, like Esfir, receive the lifesaving care they desperately need.

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