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A report from Koen Carlier: our Aliyah fieldworker in the Ukraine
|Ready with ninety foodparcels for Berschad|
|It can be treacherously slippery|
|Waiting patiently for a food parcel|
|Waiting in line for your turn|
|Time for a picture|
|Everybody has a food parcel|
On Friday, December 21st, we transported food parcels from Vinnitsa to the small city of Berschad; a round trip of 340 kilometres. Although the snow had been cleared (not all of it) a thin layer of ice now covers the road. It is difficult to decide which of the two is preferable…
We arranged to meet at the synagogue at twelve, and requested Efim to ask the people to collect the food parcels themselves. The driving conditions were difficult and, after being unable to drive up a slight slope, we had to patiently wait for the large tractor that assists in pulling trucks up the incline.
We eventually reached the synagogue three hours later than planned and, of course, there was no one there. Who would wait for three hours at a temperature of –18 ̊? Also, the synagogue does not have a heating system. Then I saw Efim approaching us via a small door. We apologised for being late, and said we naturally understood that the people left without receiving food parcels.
When we asked where we should leave the food parcels, Efim wanted to know if we did not wish to meet the people. But… where were they? We entered through a small door into a living room, where a rabbi and his family lived a hundred years ago. To our astonishment, we found more than fifty Jewish people waiting patiently on wooden benches.
Although I expected to hear moans and groans, we were welcomed with broad smiles and people who had understanding for our ‘somewhat’ later than planned arrival. You have to understand that ‘five minutes’, in the Ukraine, means about an hour. Whenever someone phones to say they will be later than planned, my question is always: do you mean five Ukrainian minutes or five European minutes?
Anyway, the people were very thankful for their food parcels that we handed to them from the bus. Efim hired a small vehicle to deliver food parcels to families who could not personally collect their food parcels, due to illness or infirmity.
The Righteous amongst the Nations (people who saved Jew during the Second World War) also always receive food parcels. In between trips with olim to the airport, we delivered food parcels to three new places during the past few weeks.
Please support the food parcel action by donating online. Food parcels, at a cost of €10,- per parcel, are vital for the poor Jews during the harsh winters in the Ukraine.
Working trip to the Ukraine
Do you wish to experience the packing and distributing of food parcels in the Ukraine personally? This unique opportunity is available to a small group in February and the fall of 2013. This working trip is led by Koen Carlier.
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org