Faces of The Fellowship: Dmytro, Natela, and Maksym

 |  March 30, 2016

Dmytro, Natela, and Maksym, all IFCJ recipients smiling together on a couch.

Both Dmytro and Natela have higher education degrees. Dmytro worked for years as a doctor, and Natela worked for the police force. They never planned on leaving eastern Ukraine, but this couple, along with their 17-year-old son, Maksym, recently made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) aboard a Fellowship Freedom Flight after their home was destroyed.

“The disturbances began in May 2014, but there was no expectation of something that would last so long and cause so much damage,” Dmytro said. “The massive artillery fire started around July 2014, and that’s when the real chaos began. There were many injured or killed, and so many houses were destroyed. There were no warnings and none of us had the ability to know when the shooting would resume.”

In August 2014, a missile hit their home. Dmytro was on call at the hospital, but Natela and Maksym were at home. They stayed huddled in their basement while the shelling continued throughout the entire day. When they finally left the basement, they saw that the roof of their house was destroyed and that the missile had landed in Maksym’s room. It was lucky that Maksym wasn’t there at the time.

“The main thing is we’re all safe and sound,” Natela said. “But the truth is, it still hurts to lose everything you had. Everything was shattered and disappeared as if it never was.”

The family knows that there are also wars in Israel, but they feel much safer in the Holy Land. “In Ukraine, there’s no warning system against missiles. No one cares about the immense damage done to our home. If we would turn to the rebels for help, they would take our home,” Dmytro said. “The house remains destroyed to this day. There’s no point in fixing anything, because who knows if there will ever be quiet or if we’ll be able to sell it. We know we can’t return to what was there.”

Dmytro said that after the past year, his family just wants a quiet life. They are so happy to live in Israel, which is the one country where they feel truly welcomed.

“There’s no future in Ukraine, and there won’t be. I’m ready to start over, forget the past, and believe that my future is in Israel,” he said. “My son will go to the army in a year and we’re proud of that.” They are grateful for the support of The Fellowshipthat made this fresh start possible.