Natalia, 44, always dreamed of making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) one day. She believed living in the Holy Land would allow her to return to her Jewish roots. “I always thought that Israel is my real home,” says Natalia. “I felt that eventually I would make it to the Holy Land.”
But she was born in Ukraine, and had built her life there, marrying her husband, Alexander, 45, and raising her 9-year-old son, Mykyta. She felt she had a stable family life – so the hope of beginning a new life in Israel slowly seemed like too big of a risk. She didn’t want to uproot her family.
Until war broke out in her hometown, and everything changed.
Since 2014, when the Russian-backed separatists took power in Donetsk, and in other surrounding parts of the region, the city has turned into a war zone. Once hostilities started, the frequent bombing and shelling hurt the economy. “Donetsk is an industrial city,” says Alexander. “Since the war started, many enterprises have shut down. People have lost their jobs. That's what happened to me.”
The family’s apartment was partially damaged. “That forced us to leave the city for some time,” says Alexander. “Once we came back, things were exactly the same as they had been when we left. Things didn't get any better. The sound of exploding shells can still be heard in Donetsk.”
The family decided to take a Fellowship Freedom Flight to the Holy Land.
“It was the thought of moving to Israel that gave our family the strength to survive under the tough conditions,” says Natalia.
“It's a new life adventure,” says Mykyta.
“This Fellowship Freedom Flight is an opportunity to start a new life after experiencing the horrors of war,” adds Alexander.
Alexander plans to learn Hebrew and find a job right away. “We're not afraid of taking any job that comes our way,” says Alexander.
“What I also like about Israel is the fact that you can start your own business. My son has a dream of opening his own small café. I'll help him when he opens it,” says Natalia.
They feel blessed by The Fellowship and our wonderful donors for providing so much support to their family. “I'm amazed that the donors are so willing to help people while not asking for anything in return,” says Natalia. “It’s simply priceless. Thank you.”