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Faces of The Fellowship: Joseph

Faces of The Fellowship: Joseph (photo: Chamah/Ilya Dolgopolsky)

Joseph met his wife while taking dance classes at the Moscow Construction Institute (IISS), where he went to college. He had taken classes all throughout his studies in Moscow, and continued after graduation. His future wife, Isabella, was a dancer too, and took classes at the same college. They were dance partners in one of the classes, and soon they fell in love. Shortly after, they were married.

During the first few years of their marriage, they attended popular dance contests in the Baltic Republics, and sometimes won top place in the competition. But when Isabella became pregnant, both decided to stop dancing and devote their time to their child.

They wanted to name their child Moses to honor Isabella’s grandfather, but they didn’t want to risk giving their firstborn son such a Jewish name because of the anti-Semitic atmosphere throughout the Soviet Union.

Their son, who they named Michael, grew up to be very smart and capable. He graduated from high school with high grades and went on to study at a university, which was rare for a young Jewish man.

Michael became a chemist. After graduation, he began working for a chemical laboratory for one of the major Moscow factories. There, he met his wife and soon the two decided to immigrate to Israel.

While Joseph was very happy for his son, right after Joseph and Isabella’s only son made aliyah (immigrated to Israel), Isabella became ill and died. Not only was Joseph shocked by his wife’s sudden passing, he was also left alone with no family living near him.

Today, Michael occasionally calls from Israel to check on his father, but Michael doesn’t have enough financial stability to care for his father in his old age.

Joseph’s strength diminishes every day. Daily tasks now require more effort, such as grocery shopping, going to the bank, tidying up the apartment, or cooking dinner.

Thankfully, some of Joseph’s friends contacted the Fellowship-sponsored Chamah organization, a Jewish charity that helps the elderly. Now volunteers from this Fellowship-supported charity come weekly to clean his apartment and help him wash his laundry. They also bring him nutritious meals and deliver medications.

Joseph is so grateful for these kind Fellowship volunteers, who according to Joseph, “give him a chance to enjoy life again.”

Learn how you can help Jewish people like Joseph facing poverty and the challenges of old age alone.

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