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Galine and Esther-A Mother and Daughter's Struggle for Survival

Life has always been very difficult for Galine, 73, and her mother Esther, 95, yet they have persevered together through it all. While living in the Ukraine, Esther's husband was drafted into the Russian army, and he has not been heard from him since. "I still dream about my loving husband walking through the door and giving me a hug," she says. "I have never lost hope, even though he has been missing for nearly 60 years."

Esther vividly remembers the fear and sadness she felt when the Nazis invaded their town. Esther and eight-year-old Galine escaped to the forest where they lived for months, surviving on berries and rainwater. "The Nazis caught many Jews running away and killed them on the spot," Esther recalls. "I was terrified of them taking away my little daughter." Sadly, Esther and Galine were the only survivors; every last member of their family was murdered in the Holocaust.

After all the hardships the two women have endured, it was their hope to live out the rest of their days in Israel. It was not until 1996, however, that they were able to fulfill this life- long dream. Unfortunately, life in Israel has provided them little relief from their struggles. They live on a small government stipend, which barely covers the cost of rent, food, and medicine. Galine suffers from diabetes and heart disease while Esther is unable to walk due to numerous ailments. For nearly ten years they have not been able to afford the cost to heat their home during the cold Jerusalem winters. "Every winter I have to lie in bed for months on end with blankets and sweaters, yet I still got sick with pneumonia," Esther cries. "My body is weak and can't take the strain of winter."

Thanks to a grant from The Fellowship, Esther and Galine, as well as thousands of other poor elderly residents throughout Israel, will be able to heat their home this winter. Without the gift of heating from The Fellowship's Warm Winter for the Elderly program, Esther is certain that she would not have survived another winter. "I can't thank you enough for keeping me warm in my old age and for saving my life," she says. Donate now

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Related Groups: Poor Elderly

Related Programs: Guardians of Israel

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