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Sadness and Joy

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Sadness and Joy 

Leonit knew tremendous sadness in his young life. He told Homecare that until he met his wife, he had never known that love and joy could be his.

He was born in Belarus, the fifth child of his Jewish parents. When war came, his mother fled with him and his siblings to the Urals, but his father was killed in action. At five years old, Leonit lost his mother to cancer, and joined the ranks of Russia’s many war orphans. Because of a law which placed siblings in different orphanages, he was placed in an institution of 300 children and his sister was placed separately.

There was no affection shown to the children and beatings from the hand of the alcoholic Director and older children were the sorrowful norm. From the youngest to the oldest, they had to work hard all day in extreme winter or summer temperatures. Although he remained in the orphanage until he was 17, he could not recall one moment of happiness during that time, except for a rare moment during his 16th year when his sister found him and visited him.

One great treasure that emerged from his painful years at the orphanage was Leonit discovered his passion for art. The children loved the pictures he drew for them. When Leonit finally left this sad home and earned enough to study art at the university, he discovered his passion and skill in sculpting. So much so that he became famous for it!

Perestroika brought previously-unknown freedom for the citizens of the former Soviet Union, but increased Antisemitism for the Jews. Therefore in 1991, Leonit moved to Israel with his beloved wife and a son. Despite the difficulties, Leonit found his home in Israel with his family and became a well-known sculptor. His son also became a prominent artist.

ICEJ’s Homecare gave assistance when Leonit’s wife had cancer. After she passed away, Leonit had so much sorrow; the ongoing contact with ICEJ Homecare is an enormous comfort to him. 

Leonit is just one of the many stories of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. They each had times of great joy and deep sadness, therefore Homecare is privileged to hear those stories as they offer practical assistance to the immigrants in their new life in Israel.


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