A New Life in Israel

Yael Eckstein  |  February 15, 2023

Young girl and father realize dream of making aliyah to Israel from Ukraine

How often do you get the chance to watch someone’s dream come true?

That’s one of the greatest things about my role at The Fellowship—getting the opportunity to see dreams being fulfilled. And last week, I was privileged to see this once again.

Standing on the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport here in Israel, I welcomed the latest Fellowship aliyah flight from Ukraine. A family of three—parents Sergei and Ludmilla, and eight-year-old Ksenia—departed the plane, setting foot for the first time in the Holy Land of Israel.

Sergei thanked The Fellowship “for giving our child the hope of a better life.” And, holding his young daughter, this father said, “That is our dream… our new life in Israel.”

You see, for the past year, this family survived by holding onto that dream.

A year ago, I had just finished my regular trip to Ukraine—delivering aid to elderly Holocaust survivors in remote areas, visiting Fellowship-supported orphanages and community centers, and making sure the neediest of Ukraine’s Jews had the food and medicine and heat they need to stay alive—only to watch with the rest of the world as Russia’s invasion plunged Ukraine into chaos.

And now, one year later, we still watch as the people of Ukraine struggle to survive. Sergei describes that terrifying year that his own family lived through:

“The most common sound we would hear was the air raid siren. We lived on the 10th floor of our building and every time the siren wailed, I’d grab my wife and daughter and run as fast as possible down the stairs to the basement shelter. I would encourage Ksenia by saying it was a game to see who could get there fastest. It was terrifying.”

And all through that terrifying year, the family dreamed of a new life. A new life in Israel. And now, thanks to The Fellowship’s supporters around the world, this Jewish family from Ukraine has seen that dream come true in the Holy Land.

I don’t know what the next year will hold for the people of Ukraine, people stuck dreaming of rescue like Ksenia and her parents did. But I do know that, thanks to you, The Fellowship will be there, on the ground—changing lives, saving lives, and fulfilling the dreams of those praying for new lives.

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael Eckstein's Signature

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