The Actress

The Fellowship  |  September 19, 2022

Maya, an elderly Jewish survivor in the FSU who was once an actress
(Photo: FJC/Victor Adjamsky)

Maya has always been an early riser. In her younger years, she would wake up with the sun and get her housework done during those hours. She raised a family and made a home and then set off to her lifework in the theater.

Maya loved the creativity of it being an actress. She loved the joy of telling a good story. She loved connecting with a rapt audience. Maya reminisces about those days—she misses the energy she once had.

These days, Maya is still an early riser. She still rises with the sun, gets herself out of bed, and fixes a cup of tea.

But then her mind wanders further back, to the days of her youth, to more than eighty years ago. To the Holocaust. To the devastation she witnessed. To the losses she suffered. To the pain she felt.

And today, Maya still feels pain. Chronic pain has left the 85-year-old Jewish woman unable to move like she once did—forget floating across a stage, she can barely prepare her morning tea.

Her family lives far away, so Maya is all alone, especially with the tumultuous times now facing the former Soviet Union where she still lives, too old and weak to move to Israel.

But Maya’s face lights up when Fellowship volunteers arrive, as they do during the High Holy Days, bearing boxes of food, help with medications and utilities, and the simple gifts of friendship and fellowship. For once, this actress feels as loved and energized as she once did, because of you.

“I love the days the The Fellowship comes to visit,” she says. “It brings me so much joy. Thank you so much for coming into my life and treating me with kindness and companionship in my old age.”

This High Holy Days season, you can provide not just kindness and companionship, but life-giving food and lifesaving aid to elderly Jewish people like Maya.