When we brought the last Olim (Hebrew for immigrants) to the airport on Monday 31 December (see article: Aliyah Continues) we had hoped for a few days of rest, but we were wrong. The requests started coming in rapidly on the 1st of January, which surprised us.
Families want to come from long distances – from more than 600 km from Kiev, the capital. So since New Year’s Day we have been on the road.
Right now mainly families want to be helped with transportation to the Israeli embassy in Kiev. The winter is cold (temperatures drop down to -13 degrees Celsius at night) and there has been a good amount of snow in the last few days.
Most people prefer to stay at our shelter the day before they have their interview at the embassy. Almost 5000 people have stayed for a short and long periods. Nataliya, assisted by volunteer Tanya, takes care of this very well!
For the small children it is almost a family outing. They come together with their parents and sometimes even joined by their grandparents. This week we had three families sitting around the dining table in the shelter. Nine people in total; the youngest a seven-month-old baby and the eldest, Simon, an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor. They had been travelling for twelve hours to the shelter in Kiev.
After the first interview, when all the required official documents are in order, people have to go back to the embassy or consulate to get their exit visa. After that they have a few months before they go to Israel permanently.
This morning we received a phone call from a desperate Jewish family from the war zone in the east. They had gone to the local rabbi for advice and he advised them to go to Israel. “But,” they replied, “we have no money for that and we do not even have international passports!” The rabbi laughed and said, “Call this number and you will be helped.”
In short, long-term planning is not something we do here; day-by-day and step-by-step. Every day has its own worries and problems! What we do know: He is faithful, now and in the future.
In our work we regularly think of Isaiah 62 verse 10:
“Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people.Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.”
Support our Aliyah work in Ukraine!
It costs 135 euros or 165 US $ to assist one Ukrainian Jew to make aliyah.
Any amount is welcome! https://www.c4israel.org/support-israel/food-parcels-ukraine/
Koen Carlier is an Aliyah field worker for Christians for Israel working in Ukraine. Together with his dedicated team, his wife with their three children and many volunteers, he supports the Jewish community in Ukraine.
In cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel, they help in a practical way by offering free transportation and helping to prepare the necessary documents when the people have decided to make Aliyah.
The team also distributes thousands of food parcels each year to the needy, many of them Holocaust survivors.