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Flying to Safety and Freedom

Fellowship staff member Eva Geller recently visited several families in Ukraine ahead of The Fellowship’s most recent Freedom Flight that brought 90 Ukrainian Jewish refugees to Israel. Here, Eva shares the story of Vladimir and Katerina and their children, 6-year-old Sasha and 1-year-old Milana. The family made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) aboard this life-changing flight:This young family lived in Lugansk, right in the heart of the warzone. Vladimir says that as soon as the crisis broke out, sleeping through the night became impossible. There was constant shelling, and the young girls were terrified from the noise and the shaking walls."We would sleep totally dressed in our clothes in the basement. We had to sleep in the safest place possible, and be ready to run at any time," Katerina said.They couldn’t continue living with all the armed people in the streets and the constant shooting and shelling, so in July 2014, the family moved to central Ukraine.A few days after they moved, their neighbors in Lugansk called and told them that their house had been hit with gunfire and all their belongings were damaged. A few weeks later, another shelling hit their house, this time causing severe damage. The neighbors were hurt, and they said if Vladimir’s family had been in their house at the same time, they most likely would have been killed.But in September 2014, a ceasefire was declared, and so the family decided to go back home to Lugansk. "I can’t explain to you what it feels like to see your home and everything you had – all your memories, your children's beds – destroyed. And it was not only our home, the whole city looked like a disaster zone,” Vladimir said.The family received aid through the Fellowship-funded Hesed organization, which provided them with food and clothing. Without this aid, they would have had nothing, but The Fellowship helped them to survive.This family was on the latest Fellowship Freedom Flight, and they are now starting their lives in Ashkelon, a coastal city in southern Israel. Vladimir’s brother made aliyah on a previous Fellowship Freedom Flight, and is looking forward to helping his family adjust to life in Israel.


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