The Kindness of Strangers
James Dalton | August 4, 2020
A young girl in Kishinev, Moldova, Tova witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust. The Soviets, who ruled the city at the beginning of World War II, conscripted her beloved father into the Red Army. Early in the war, Tova’s father fell in battle. Then, the Nazis overran Kishinev, rounding up the Jewish population and shooting nearly 10,000 in pits on the city’s outskirts.
A Stranger by the River
From these horrors, little Tova’s family prepared to flee.
“The whole family went out before us and we stayed at home for one more day,” the now 83-year-old woman recalls. “My mother wanted to get organized for the long trip. Thinking back, this decision saved us.”
Tova and her mother walked until they reached a river. A stranger on the riverbank “told us to change our route and not go in the direction our family had gone, because whoever took this route was murdered.” Tova’s mother heeded the stranger’s advice. The Nazis “killed everyone, even my youngest aunt in an advanced stage of pregnancy.”
But Tova and her mother survived the Holocaust, only to face hard lives in Soviet Moldova. At last, Tova’s mother, Tova, her husband, and their disabled son made aliyah (immigrated to Israel).
Hard times continued in the Holy Land. Tova’s husband passed away not long after arriving in Israel. Her beloved mother died soon after. This left the widow to care for their disabled adult son, now 62. Her son finds life “very difficult for him,” Tova says, tears welling in her eyes.
Friends in the Holy Land
But thanks to Fellowship-funded Mana Hama soup kitchen, Tova again witnessed the kindness of strangers. And thanks to these Fellowship supporters around the world, Tova and her son have food to eat – hot meals delivered to them even during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
“Since last year, we both started to receive cooked meals from the soup kitchen. I can’t stand and cook for him anymore. My feet are swollen and hurt me,” she tells us. Devoted to caring for her son, Tova can now “eat cooked food and meat myself.” We might take this for granted, but this sweet elderly Holocaust survivor does not. And does not take for granted the kindness and care shown by Fellowship friends she has never met.