‘The Land of Our Ancestors’

 |  June 11, 2020

Rakhil Smirnova, Ukrainian olim makes aliyah to Israel, her home land, on Fellowship Freedom Flight, May 19, 2020
Rakhil Smirnova, Ukrainian olim makes aliyah to Israel, her home land, on Fellowship Freedom Flight, May 19, 2020

Home, at last.

As soon as the wheels of her wheelchair touched the holy ground of Israel, Rakhil knew she was home. It had taken almost 90 years, but this precious Jewish woman at last came home to the biblical land of her ancestors.

Despite the fact that as soon as she and her family got off the Fellowship Freedom Flight their temperatures were taken, Rakhil was home. Despite the fact that she would then be quarantined because of the coronavirus pandemic shaking the world, Rakhil was home.

The 89-year-old great-grandmother’s dream had been fulfilled – home at last, a home she will share with her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.

But Rakhil hasn’t always had a home. Just a girl of ten when World War II broke out, Rakhil and her family fled their eastern Ukraine home as the German army invaded. Always trying to stay one step ahead of the Nazis, the family moved from Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan. And as they moved, they all fought off starvation.

Today, the elderly woman recalls the horrific memories of the Holocaust. “In order to stay alive, my mother was forced to boil dead animals and feed their flesh to me,” she says, also noting that unlike millions of other Jews, she survived this dark time. “More than 80 years have passed since then and I still didn’t manage to cope with the tragedy of the Jewish nation.”

And it is the modern Jewish nation which Rakhil can now call home, thanks to you. While she, unlike those untold millions, survived the Holocaust, Rakhil never achieved her dream of making aliyah (immigrating to Israel)…until now.

You see, despite the worldwide pandemic, Rakhil, her son Volodymyr, and his wife Halyna just arrived in the Holy Land on an aliyah flight. Once their quarantine ends, they will be reunited with Rakhil’s granddaughter and her family who already live in Israel.  Volodymyr and Halyna’s son and his family will soon follow, meaning that Rakhil not only has a new home in the Holy Land, but will feel at home there, as well.

Perhaps Halyna put it best when, after departing the Fellowship Freedom Flight, she said, “This is my country and the place for me to be. In addition to our desire to reunite with our children, one more reason for our making aliyah is my mother’s dream to return to the land of our ancestors.”

Together with The Fellowship, YOU can reunite more families in Israel – building homes, fulfilling biblical prophecy, and making lifelong dreams come true.

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