From Constant Fear to Being Cared for Like Family | IFCJ
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From Constant Fear to Being Cared for Like Family

Olga is an 84-year-old woman from the former Soviet Union. She and her husband, who is homebound and suffers from advanced Parkinson's disease, live in a small apartment in Jerusalem's Armon HaNatziv neighborhood. Olga receives a monthly Fellowship food card, which enables her to purchase whatever food she chooses.Their neighborhood is in southern East Jerusalem. It borders Jerusalem's Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, which is a hotbed of Islamic radicalism. Several terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by residents of that neighborhood on their Jewish neighbors.A strong woman, Olga has known her share of heartache. "Two years ago our only daughter was killed in a car crash," Olga says as she holds back tears. "Her daughter, our only grandchild, had died from cancer a few years before that. Other than my husband, I have no other family here."Olga cares for her husband with great devotion and rarely leaves her apartment. "My husband requires constant care," says Olga. "I can't leave him alone for long periods of time. The only time I really leave the apartment is when I go to the supermarket or when I need to run errands. To be honest, leaving the apartment is therapeutic for me. My husband is the love of my life, and I'm happy to care for him, but it's hard. Sometimes I just need to get out and clear my head."Unfortunately, the current wave of terror has traumatized Olga and she's too afraid to leave her apartment. "We live right next to an Arab village from where terrorists have come and committed attacks. I'm living in constant fear and anxiety. Now all I see are soldiers and a concrete wall which is being built near our building. I feel as if our neighborhood has been turned into an army base," she says.Olga's fear presented a real problem last week when she needed to go to the supermarket. "We had no food, but I was too afraid to leave the apartment," she says. "I need to take two buses to the supermarket and I'm afraid to even walk outside."The first thought that came to Olga's mind was to call Julie Orper, a coordinator for The Fellowship's With Dignity and Fellowshipprogram, which provides food, medicine, and companionship for Israel’s impoverished elderly. "Julie is so wonderful, she cares for me like a daughter," says Olga. "I knew she would come up with a solution.”Julie's solution was to send Olga a volunteer, who did her shopping for her. "I can't tell you how thankful I am to The Fellowship and its donors for all they do. I was surprised when I was first told about the elderly program. People we don't even know are looking out for us on a monthly basis. Now I see that the care goes beyond the gift of a food card, which we need to survive. It's also about giving us hope when we have nowhere else to turn. I've lost almost my entire family. It's wonderful knowing I have a huge family of people I've never met, but who care about me. God bless Rabbi Eckstein and The Fellowship!"


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