Until the age of nine, Anna had no idea she was Jewish. Being a Jew was dangerous in the former Soviet Union where she grew up, so Anna's mother hid her identity from her and married a Russian man in the hopes that her children would not suffer from anti-Semitism, as she had. "There were signs — like my grandfather's name, Zalman, and my grandparents speaking in Yiddish," Anna recalls. "But as a child I wasn't sure what they meant."
With the fall of the Soviet Union, Anna's life was suddenly transformed. "My mother told us we were Jewish, and other families were also admitting this," Anna says. The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), a partner organization of The Fellowship funded through the On Wings of Eagles program, began to open Jewish schools and youth clubs, and organized Jewish holiday celebrations.
Despite this, Anna continued to face harsh anti-Semitism and dreamed of living in her biblical homeland. Finally, thanks to JAFI and On Wings for Eagles, Anna and her sister were able to realize that dream by coming to Israel.
Today, Anna is the coordinator of a Jewish Agency program in Israel for Russian-speakers. She spends her summers in Russia encouraging children to discover the significance of their Jewish heritage. She is deeply grateful to On Wings of Eagles for giving her and others like her "the chance to live and experience real life in Israel, and feel the incredible spirit of the Jewish homeland."
Thanks to On Wings of Eagles, Jews in countries around the world where anti-Semitism is rampant are able to discover the promise of life in Israel.