|Oksana Zolodyev and son, Artur in a potato crate in their basement in Ukraine|
After a summer of war and tragic attacks on innocent Israelis, it can be hard to fathom that thousands of Jews from all over the world find life-saving refuge in Israel. Despite the turmoil, Israel continues to welcome Jews fleeing violence and the terrifying rise in anti-Semitism.
Federation’s mission is to care for all Jews in need -- locally, in Israel, and around the world. We partner with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to provide this critical assistance. JDC reports that there are over 350,000 Jews in war-ravaged Ukraine who depend on the assistance of local Jewish communities. The same is true for hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union and for others from India to Tunisia. Federation’s partner JDC helps these Jews in need, including the Zolodyev family, who were at the epicenter of the crisis in Ukraine.
The Zolodyev family was living in Lugansk when heavy fighting erupted. Wanting to move to Israel, but unable to sell their apartment, they sent their 19-year old daughter, Aleksandrina to Israel on Selah— a JAFI immigration program. In Israel, Aleksandrina studied Hebrew, went to school, and settled into Israeli society while waiting for her family to arrive.
Alexksandria’s parents and younger brother, Artur, were enduring the violence and destruction unfolding in Ukraine. They spent long dark nights hiding in their basement, sleeping in potato crates, surviving on barley and onions without electricity and with scarce water.
After the family was able to leave, JAFI helped them reunite in Israel after being separated for 18 months. JAFI provided their transportation and arranged for Aleksandrina to greet them at Ben-Gurion airport. Now, the Zolodyev family lives in an absorption center, where they are enrolled in an Ulpan. Artur is studying at a Federation-funded World ORT Technion school, and Aleksandria is preparing to serve in the army though a JAFI program. “It’s a dream for a Lugansk Jew to come to Israel,” said Aleksandrina, “This is our home, our one and only home.”
The Zolodyev family is just one of many thousands who are helped by Federation and our partners.
All of this is possible thanks to your generosity!
To read the family’s full story and to learn more about the work of JAFI, click here.
To learn more about JDC visit their website.