Alena, 20, was born in Odessa, Ukraine, the only child of a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father. In her early teens, Alena went with a friend to an activity center run by The Fellowship, funded by the On Wings of Eagles program. She quickly became involved in a Fellowship youth club, and loved working as a counselor at our summer camp.
When Alena was fourteen she had the opportunity to visit Israel and immediately felt a strong bond to her Jewish homeland. "I knew that I would come to Israel," she says. "I felt a strong connection to my Jewish identity and knew that I would have a better future there."
Two years later Alena had the opportunity to realize her dream of living in Israel, thanks to the Na'aleh program, which is also funded by Wings. Na'aleh has brought thousands of teenagers from the FSU to Israel, where they complete their secondary education in youth villages throughout the country.
"I loved Na'aleh," says Alena. "It was the best thing I could have done. Although it was difficult to be without my mother, we had a great group and wonderful staff. I learned Hebrew quickly and just felt really good here." In fact, when Alena later went back to visit Odessa she says, "I felt much more Israeli than Ukrainian!"
Today, Alena is an Israeli citizen and serves in the Israeli Defense Forces. She continues to receive assistance from The Fellowship's fund for lone immigrant soldiers. "When I finish my army service I want to study economics and business administration. I have no doubt that I will succeed."
Your support of On Wings of Eagles not only brings Jews to Israel — it helps them adjust to their new life, so that they can become proud and productive citizens of the Jewish state.