Taking Care of Each Other
The Fellowship | June 26, 2023
Born as World War II began, Lidiya never knew her father. The young Jewish man left his young wife to be a pilot, fighting the Nazis. With a baby in her arms, Lidiya’s mother soon received word that her husband had been killed in battle. The young Jewish mother was left all alone—to flee with her loved ones and her beloved baby as the Nazis approached.
This is the atmosphere in which Lidiya grew up—life as a refugee. “I remember the most important thing that helped us survive was that all the family stayed together and helped each other with every little thing,” she says, “taking care of each other, looking out for the children and the elderly.”
Even after the war and their return home, Lidiya’s family wasn’t completely free. “Jewish life wasn’t allowed,” she recalls of living under communist rule. “The Soviets used all the religious institutions for other purposes. Our synagogue served as some professional school—there was no memory of any Jewish tradition there.”
It was only through the older people who had also survived the Holocaust that Lidiya remained tied to her Jewish faith and roots. Now a widow living in southern Israel, she is finally free to live her Jewish faith, even as life remains difficult.
“It’s a shame to speak about what one can’t afford,” Lidiya blushes. “One must be thankful for what you have.” What wise words from a woman who has survived so much during her 82 years, and who is thankful for what she has—groceries, food deliveries for Jewish holidays, and much-needed companionship—thanks to her family at The Fellowship.