‘I’m Completely Alone’
When The Fellowship visited Matana, the elderly Jewish woman’s face lit up. After more than a year of isolation, a recent storm had knocked out telephone service in the dilapidated public housing building where Matana lives all alone in Tiberias, leaving her effectively cut off from the rest of the world.
The apartment, itself, has done little to help Matana feel better. Its uneven floors have already caused multiple falls, the latest leaving Matana with three slipped disks in her back. And the small apartment is barely furnished, with just a small table and chair the only furniture where this sweet woman can rest.
Born to a Jewish family in Iraq, Matana made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) with her parents and brothers while still a baby, escaping the anti-Semitism there.
But tragedy struck Matana’s family, even in the Holy Land. As children playing at the Sea of Galilee, Matana and one of her brothers jumped into the biblical body of water. But her brother landed instead on the rocky shore, dying of his injuries.
Another brother died of a fall, as well, while working construction in Jerusalem. A third brother’s mental illness has left him unable to interact with the family. Only a fourth brother, who works on a farm, is still part of Matana’s life.
But Matana’s life is not easy. Besides her back injury and poor living conditions, the elderly woman has no more teeth, and no neighbors or friends to keep her company. The only neighbor who visits is another elderly Jewish woman named Leah, who speaks only Russian, so even that relationship is hard. But despite her own difficulties, Matana cares for Leah, helping her navigate a world in a foreign language and providing much-needed support.
It would seem like Matana has no support of her own. But that is where The Fellowship comes in. By providing food, medicine, and regular visits, faithful Fellowship friends around the world make sure this sweet child of God is not alone and not forgotten. “I can’t imagine what I’d be doing without The Fellowship’s generous assistance,” Matana tells us. “I’m completely alone.”