It used to be called The Unknown Holocaust. But when the former Soviet Union disintegrated, details emerged of the horror that Soviet Jews, particularly those from the Ukraine, had gone through.
Many of those survivors of this terrible time made aliyah to Israel as soon as the doors opened to allow them to do so. Homecare has met many of these Russian speakers although as illness and advanced age takes their toll, their numbers diminish every year. Each survivor is a miracle. They may be the only one left of a family, of a generation, and sometimes of a whole community and until today, they have not all dealt with the deep suffering in their past that put a shadow over their lives. Noam survived a ghetto, then a concentration camp and this is what he said about it to the Homecare nurse on one of her weekly visits. “I was not lucky that I had to suffer, but I was lucky that I survived it.” Noam is thankful that he can live in Israel. However, his wife died after 60 years of marriage, his daughter lives in Finland and his son and family recently returned to Russia after twenty years in Israel. So Noam is alone again and now quite blind. He lost sight in one eye during the war years and required an operation on the other eye which unfortunately was not successful. Homecare’s weekly visits are very important for him. Just a cup of tea is required, or perhaps meeting a small financial need such as taxi money in order to attend the meeting of other Russian speaking survivors. “Will you come again soon?” he asks anxiously when the visit is over.
At Pesach as at other Jewish Festivals, there will be a special opportunity to bring comfort and to be a blessing to Noam. Thanks to the financial help from supporters, seventy lonely survivors will receive a supermarket coupon worth $US20 along with a beautiful card with a verse from the Psalms on it. Words that bring hope and life.
When Noam received a supermarket voucher and card last year, he looked at it slowly and carefully and then said, “The voucher is a help for me, but the card touches my heart. Would you thank the people who were so generous to me.”
Sometimes a small gesture makes a big difference. In the name of this group of Russian speaking Jews, a hearty thanks for your valued prayer and financial support.