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I should not be afraid… The story of Anna Borisovna

editor - 16 January 2018

By Nataliya Kryzhanovskaya.. We met a long time ago at one of the events of Kiev Hesed. I do not know what was so special about her that I remembered her so well, but she always kept herself apart from the rest. Her history and background in a nutshell. Her grandmother and grandfather, Chana Iosifovna and Gersh Mordukhovich, were shot in Babi Yaralong with other relatives. Anna Borisovna has an intelligent appearance, which betrays her nationality. At school, fellow students and teachers always made fun of her.

Because of this, immediately after the 8th grade, she entered evening school, where all students were older. At the same time she got a job in order to become independent. She married and gave birth to two children: Syoma and Diana. When the Soviet Union started drafting for military service, everyone understood that Syoma had no other option but to go to Afghanistan. The father of the family decided to save his son’s life and to give him a Jewish education. He took his son to the United States, after faking a divorce from his wife. Annaloved her husband and her son – who was 17 at that time – so much that she took this step hoping her husband would soon return.

Anna hasn’t seen or heard anything from her son, who is 45 today. Once in the United States, the father decided he would never return, he even founded another family. It is not easy for Anna to share her memories, she carries with her a lot of personal pain. And what about her daughter Diana? At school she was also called “the Jew” for her intelligent appearance! Many times her classmates mocked her. She married a young Jewishman too early and learned she could emigrate from Ukraine to Australia. Since then, her daughter has never visited her mother in Ukraine and did not help her in any way.

According to Anna, they did not really want to remember their Jewish “happiness” in the Soviet Union. Many times Anna and I talked about Israel, but some kind of fear kept her from making aliyah. Nine years ago, Annadecided to prepare documents to repatriate, but a terrible diagnosis called cancer stopped the process of leaving. Anna had several courses of chemotherapy. After that she decided that she would not go.

This year (2017) in the beginning of September we started the process of preparing documents again. And soon enough a second diagnosis with the same terrible name interfered our plan and an urgent surgery was needed. The oncologist immediately asked her a question: “Oh, you again? Haven’t you left yet to celebrate your “Jewish heaps” (Sukkot)?” At the same time he seasoned his phrase with the humiliating word: “Zhidovka” (“Jewess” in Ukrainian). Hearing these anti-Semitic remarks again made her more determined to leave.

Anna got her first chemotherapy in Kiev, after which she was very ill. A couple of days later she had an appointment to collect her visa. Grateful thanks are due to the Embassy of the State of Israel in Ukraine for their promptness! Many more questions had to be answered before the flight. A lot of different offices had to be visited, all bills to be paid and it meant running from one part of the city to another.

Christians for Israel” was close at hand at the most difficult moment and, as Scripture says: the sick also return home to Eretz Israel. Literally, step by step, carrying her in our arms and on our shoulders (in the car) … every step of the way we were a close-knit team. We were able to solve all problems in three days time. But being 71, having lost 18 kilograms in a short period of time after chemotherapy trying to fill three small bags (what is there to collect?) the decision came unexpectedly that Anna needed an escort to Israel.

Together we went to הסוכנות היהודית (ha-Sochnut ha-jehudit), that is the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and there she was promptly booked on a plane to Israel and got her ticket. I had to make an appeal on all my friends for prayer. The money for my ticket was collected by a group of friends from Germany who were in Ukraine and watched the process of preliminary negotiations between Anna and JAFIThe Lord gave us strength and within three days we were already leaving the plane together. We really needed a miracle. Annawent Ramla hospital (Asaf-ha-Rofe) immediately after leaving the plane. A big thank you for JAFI, for taking care of this. Anna was surprised by the remarkable attitude of the hospital staff.

Already the first day we started the paperwork together. We went to the bank and opened a bank account. We began to search for an apartment. I was lucky to meet with the representative of the absorption of Ramla. It is an unforgettable experience for our work: to escort from home to HOME, with the help of the Father, who calls His children home. Finally we were sitting in the hospital ward and I, hugging Anna, said that “now you are among your people and in your country”.

Meeting with JAFI in Ramla

Then Anna, with her head bowed down and with tears in her eyes, asked me: “Now I should not be afraid to say my father’s name, Boruch-Israel, right?” I did not want to show my tears and I quickly left the room. It seemed that all pain of His People has gone deep inside of me. And our Heavenly Father 365 times says through the Scripture: “Do not be afraid! I will never leave you, nor forsake you”. Already on the plane, on the way home, I was filled with joy, realising the faithfulness of our Avinu for His People. How wonderful it is to be a co-worker in His Kingdom.

Nataliya Kryzhanovskaya – Kiev
Aliyah Fieldworker in Ukraine
Christians for Israel

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