Faces of The Fellowship: Antonia

The Fellowship  |  September 1, 2021

Woman in an IFCJ mask looking directly into the camera while directly in a store.
(Photo: Sergiy Polezhaka)

Antonia knows the exact moment when she decided to make aliyah from Ukraine with The Fellowship. Two years ago, when Antonia was 28 years old, she took a Birthright trip to Israel. “I knew I wanted to be part of this beautiful and diverse country,” she says.

She went on an overnight camping trip in the desert, where the group was told Bible stories under a sky full of stars. They also went to visit the science institute where Antonia learned about all the inspiring Israeli inventions made by scientists. “This is when I knew that I wanted my family to be part of this nation of Israel,” she says. It was written in the stars.

Antonia and her husband have always felt a connection to the Jewish nation. Oleksii grew up hearing stories about his grandfather’s experience in the Holocaust. He had managed to escape the massacre at Babi Yar and was able to hide during the war. “We are proud to carry on his legacy,” Oleksii says.

But fully celebrating their Jewish heritage can be difficult in Ukraine with the growing anti-Semitism there. “It’s always in the background,” Antonia explains. “I never disclose my Judaism to people who are not my close friends.” This is why Fellowship Freedom Flights are so important. “I want to live in a country where my daughter can grow as an Israeli Jew, proud of her heritage,” adds Antonia. And it is thanks to the generosity of our donors who helped this Jewish family get to the Holy Land and start new lives.