Six Months in the Promised Land
Anna Klechenova - 29 April 2021
We would like to tell you about three olim families, who made aliyah via the First Home on the Homeland program in October 2020 – how they are doing now and what their impressions of Israel are. We have described their lives before moving to the country, and you can read that article here.
Do you remember the “Little Prince” story and its main character’s words that “we are responsible for those we have tamed”? For us, providing assistance is not a single action we take and soon forget about. We are in touch with all of the families that we have helped to start their new lives in the Holy Land.
“For us, providing assistance is not a single action we take and soon forget about”
We spoke to the subjects of this article on the eve of the Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021 and there was something sacred about it. On the one hand, being a Jew and being an Israeli is something to take pride in, but on the other hand, it is far from being easy. When you are planning your aliyah you are conjuring idealistic images in your mind. But what will you be faced with after landing in Israel? Who will take care of you and who will accompany you?
Ekaterina Skrygina, who made aliyah from Ukraine with her husband Georgii and two children, Elizaveta and Alexander, recounted: “Marina, our coordinator in kibbutz Iftach, has become a kind of second mother for us. She is close by all the time, so we feel more confident in starting to get to know this country better and believe in it. I moved to Israel because my relatives lived there. Knowing they are close helps me to go on. My grandmother has carefully preserved family traditions for all of us and we must share them with our children! That’s why we are here. After six months we continue to learn Hebrew. Currently we work in the branch of the world concern “Netafim”, which is located in our kibbutz. I also plan to take some courses for mastering my professional skills! ”
Ekaterina, Elkizaveta and Alexander Skrygina, from Ukraine | Photo: JAFI
Alexander Skrygina and his Hebrew lesson | Photo: JAFI
Anton Koshelev, his wife Asia and their daughters made aliyah from St. Petersburg. That move was very important for Anton, because almost all his distant relatives were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. The fear of oppression was the main reason for being silent. Despite all of the difficulties, after more than 70 years passed, he and his family eventually found themselves in his historical Homeland on kibbutz Neot Mordechai.
Asia and Anton Koshelev in their new home in kibbutz Neot Mordechai | Photo: JAFI
Ksenia and Leia Koshelev in kibbutz Neot Mordechai | Photo: JAFI
“Our daughters are really happy here. It is a great place to grow up! Every month something new takes place in our kibbutz, which brings us closer to one another and to Israel. Living on a kibbutz is a good experience for our family. It makes us feel like we belong to Jewish traditions. We continue studying in Ulpan and we are improving our Hebrew from day to day. Anton has already found a job in his specialty and I work in a shoe store on weekends”, Asia said.
“The First home in the Homeland Program helped us a lot: we could learn Hebrew and feel safe”
Another family from St. Petersburg is the Alexandrovs. Maxim and Margarita made aliyah with their daughter Sofia and are very happy they did that. Now the family lives in kibbutz Yiron. “The First home in the Homeland Program helped us a lot: we could learn Hebrew and feel safe. Our kibbutz coordinators provide 24-hour assistance to us.” Margarita said they had already finished Ulpan and were considering getting a good education in Israel. Now Margarita works at the kibbutz’s dining room while Maxim is working at a furniture factory. After Sofia finishes 3rd grade at school this year, they will move to the city. Maxim is looking for a new job in his specialty. Thanks to the program, everything in their new life is going very well.
Anton Alexandrov with his daughter Sofiya | Photo: JAFI
Margarita confessed that making aliyah was a tribute to her ancestors. For her, belonging to the Jewish people automatically includes the duty to return to the Promised Land. “After arriving here my life has changed for the better!” she concluded.
It is a pleasure to know that all these families feel comfortable in their Homeland. Let’s bless them for their happy new life. Thank you for your support, love and kindheartedness!