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A Sweet Holiday Season for a Woman with Mental Illness

Lyudmila lives with her sister, Rita, in Ukraine, and if it weren't for The Fellowship they would be all alone in the world.

The sisters were born into a big Jewish family, and their parents taught them to love and value their Jewish heritage. Lyudmila studied education at college and went on to become an elementary school teacher. But she soon became very sick and had to quit her job. She hasn't been able to work since.

Lyudmila was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia, which makes her unsteady and unpredictable. She will be aggressive and depressed sometimes, and then calm and kind at other times. Adding to this misfortune, she has also liver disease and hypertension.

The two sisters live in a two-room apartment in a very old house, trying to get by on Lyudmila's $105 pension. When the central heating wasn't working, The Fellowship provided an electric heater. The Fellowship also helps them attend synagogue and community events and celebrate Shabbat (the Sabbath).

In addition to this year-round help, The Fellowship provided these sisters with a parcel of food for Rosh Hashanah, including special holiday foods like a jar of honey.

"I always look forward to this holiday. Its sweetness reminds me of those sweet childhood years when our parents were with us and, despite lack of money and hard life conditions, we were happy," Lyudmila says. "Now The Fellowship brings us these sweet surprises, love, and care."

Your gifts to our High Holy Days Campaign help ensure that Jews in Israel and the former Soviet Union will receive food boxes or food cards to alleviate their hunger, will be able to celebrate these holy days in obedience to Scripture, and will be reminded that they, too, are not alone.