Hanukkah in the Holy Land

The Fellowship  |  November 3, 2021

Raisa, elderly Jewish olim in Israel, lights Hanukkah candles
(Photo: Ilan Assayag)

Last Hanukkah was very special for 81-year-old Raisa. It was the first Hannukah the Holocaust survivor had celebrated in Israel!

It has been a long journey for this precious Jewish woman. Born just before WWII began, Raisa never knew her father, forced into service with the Soviets and killed in battle. And she wouldn’t know Ukraine, the land where she was born, until after the war.

Raisa’s mother took her small child out of Ukraine, escaping the Nazis, into hiding in Kazakhstan. The family returned after the war, and Raisa still faced anti-Semitism, as Ukraine had fallen under Communist control.

After her husband passed away, Raisa realized time was running out to fulfill her dream of living in the Jewish homeland, the Holy Land of Israel. There, she might at last feel completely free to worship.

“I inherited my love for the Jewish holidays from my mother,” Raisa remembered last year. “She knew how to read Hebrew and she spoke Yiddish fluently. She told us about Passover and the other Jewish holidays. My mother would fast on Yom Kippur. She knew the basic kosher laws and was very attached to her Jewish roots. I’m very excited to be celebrating my first Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, in Israel.”

And now this precious Holocaust survivor will celebrate another Festival of Lights in her biblical homeland, thanks to Fellowship friends like you. Friends who helped her make aliyah (immigrate to Israel). Friends who have made sure she has food to eat and companionship to give her hope ever since she has arrived. And friends who, once again, have made sure she can say, “I was very moved to light the candles with the whole family and remember my Jewish roots.”

With The Fellowship, you can provide hope and help to Jewish people in need this Hanukkah.

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