‘If Not for Your Help…’

The Fellowship  |  November 1, 2022

Iosif, elderly Holocaust survivor who receives winter help from The Fellowship
(Photo: JDC/Ramin Mazur)

Iosif lives in conditions too primitive and decrepit for any climate, much less the winters of Eastern Europe. Next to a dingy parking garage in the capital of Eastern Europe’s poorest country, the hovel that this 82-year-old Holocaust calls his home is made of rough plywood and has no drywall or insulation. His shack also lacks heat or electricity.

Still, Iosif does what he can to stay warm as winter approaches. He keeps his coat and hat on all the time. He burns what firewood and coal he can gather, and huddles on the sagging twin mattress beneath threadbare sheets and a meager blanket. A large rug hangs on the wall in an attempt to block out the freezing wind that batters the single room’s thin walls. How Iosif survives is nothing short of a miracle.

But Iosif has been a survivor his entire life. As a toddler, Iosif was evacuated from his native Ukraine—along with his mother and brother—to Siberia. After the war, Iosif moved to nearby Moldova, where he married. His first wife was killed in a tragic car accident, while his second wife recently passed away, as well.

Now all alone, all Iosif has left is The Fellowship. A Fellowship-provided homecare worker brings groceries, cooks hot meals, and checks Iosif’s blood pressure. And, as the winter winds pick up outside his tiny home, Iosif depends on the food, medication, firewood, and coal that he receives because of Fellowship friends around the world. Because, if not for these loving friends, Iosif would be forgotten. Because without you, Iosif would not survive the winter.

Perhaps Iosif himself says it best. “If not for your help, it would be the end.”

As a brutal winter looms, your gift today will save the lives of God’s children who have been forgotten.

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.