Yesterday we told you about the two Fellowship Freedom Flights bringing 241 Ukrainian Jews to their new home in Israel. Today, The Jerusalem Post's Benjamin Glatt writes about three Ukrainian Jewish families who were especially ready to make aliyah (immigrate) to the Holy Land:
Oleksandr Zaslavskyi didn’t have the opportunity to learn much about his Jewish faith and heritage. But one thing he is sure of is that Israel is the place for every Jew, and he has been dreaming of living there for many years.
“We followed Jewish traditions while we were in Ukraine”, says the 56-year-old father from Kiev. “The family always honored Yom Kippur and we celebrated Rosh Hashana and Shabbat. We used to visit the Israeli Culture Center in Kiev and we even started learning Hebrew before our aliya.”
But, unfortunately, he says, the family didn’t know much more than that. “We’re the kind of Jewish people who didn’t have the opportunity to learn enough about the traditions of our own nation. A long time ago my grandmother used to talk with us about Judaism, but I was a little boy and I don’t remember much.”
But with the war in Ukraine, the increase in the cost of living and the family moving forward, they got the push they needed to make the decision to come to the land of their people, the Land of Israel.
“My mother had a serious disease and died. Eduard, our oldest son was finishing school. Ivan, our younger son, was getting older and he began to feel more and more Jewish. Sometimes he would ask us why the other kids called him offensive names because he was Jewish. All of this together pushed us in the direction of moving to Israel,” he says. “It’s thanks to The Fellowship that we’re going to learn more about ourselves and our people. The Fellowship has helped us find a place to live and is going to continue helping us during our transition period in Israel...”