Love, Kindness, and Understanding

The Fellowship  |  October 11, 2022

Rachel, elderly Holocaust survivor from Ukraine, receives love and High Holy Days aid in Israel, 2022
(Photo: Mishel Amzaleg)

“When the war started, I was not yet four years old,” says 85-year-old Rachel from her home in Israel.

The war Rachel remembers is World War II. And the home she now lives in—in her people’s biblical homeland—wasn’t always her home. No, Rachel’s life was spent in Ukraine, a life that began as the Holocaust loomed.

“My father was able to take us to Kazakhstan, away from the war,” Rachel tells a Fellowship volunteer. “We were lucky, as almost 3,000 Jews from our town were killed by the Nazis in September 1941.”

Rachel survived the Holocaust, as did her mother and siblings. But her beloved father, who led them all to a safer place, did not.

After what remained of the family returned to Ukraine after the war, Rachel remembers “how we celebrated the beginning of the New Year, and how we ate apples with honey on Rosh Hashanah.”

But Rachel also recalls the anti-Semitism that continued even after the war ended. She was persecuted and, even as a girl, “didn’t understand why people treated me and my family so badly.”

Unlike so many others, Rachel did escape life in the former Soviet Union, and watches now as war has once again engulfed her birthplace. But even in the relative safety of Israel, life has not gotten easier for her.

Rachel could never have children, and was long ago widowed. So now, she has no one to care for her. There is no one to help her when rocket sirens go off, alerting her to incoming terrorist rockets fired from Gaza. There is no one to help her when she falls. There is no one to help her remember the High Holy Days, once the highlight of her year.

There is no one there to help… but YOU…

Yes, because of faithful Fellowship friends, Rachel received a food box and welcome fellowship these High Holy Days. And because of your loving kindness, Rachel will continue to receive food, as well as heat and blankets for the coming winter.

“May God give health and long life to those who help The Fellowship,” Rachel said as we left, promising to return. “May the New Year be generous with love, kindness, and understanding.”

During the High Holy Days season and beyond, you can provide love, kindness, and lifesaving aid to elderly Jewish people like Rachel.

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