Loss and Hope During Wartime

The Fellowship  |  July 2, 2024

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(Photo: Arik Shraga)

We met Ezra and Lily when they returned home after medical procedures at Sha’arei Tzedek hospital. An 81-year-old Holocaust survivor, Ezra is also a cancer survivor, and he needs to show up at the hospital every week.

As we sat in their home, Lily served us cold water, watermelon, and cheese – a traditional Iraqi breakfast. Ezra’s mother is from Iraq and so is Lily’s family, but Ezra was born in Iran. He was five years old when Israel was established, and the first flag of Israel was raised. However, bloody pogroms spread across the region, including in Iran. That night Ezra’s father was killed. Shortly after that Ezra’s older brothers made aliyah (immigrated to Israel), and a few years later Ezra and his mother joined them.

Lily also made aliyah from Iraq at a young age. But Ezra met Lily after he was already finishing his service with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Today, they’ve been married over 60 years and the loving couple has four grown children. Just a few years ago they had 13 grandchildren, but terrible events took the lives of their 18-year-old Shahar, who died in a car accident, and Adi, an IDF soldier who was killed by terrorists on October 7, 2023.

Lily is struggling to accept the loss. “I’m thinking about my grandchildren all the time and I’m constantly in pain,” she says.

While nothing can take away this grief, The Fellowship provides support through a monthly food card which the couple can use to buy groceries. As most of Israel is hurting after October 7, it’s all the more important to care for Jewish people in need, like Ezra and Lily.

Your gift today will provide basic needs and lifesaving help for God’s children, many of them Holocaust survivors, in Israel and around the world.