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‘Our city has become unrecognizable’
When the war in Eastern Ukraine reached Lugansk, Jewish Katia and Dennis Yerilchenko hoped that things would not be too bad. But, when the explosions moved closer, the young family fled from the city with their young son Daniel. “We left just in time”, said Katia and Dennis.
“One day later we heard that our neighbourhood had been bombed. Thank God the Jewish and Christian aid organizations were there to assist us. Many people had nowhere to go. We were taken to a hiding place in Kiev run by aliyah fieldworkers of Christians for Israel.
How to continue?
“We have been talking about leaving for Israel (also called ‘making Aliyah’) since we married. But it was always in the future. Something that we have to prepare for. While residing in the hiding place a couple of weeks ago, Christians for Israel assisted us by transporting us to the Consulate in order to organize our documentation for our eventual departure. But this is not what we intended. When the situation in Lugansk settled and the train transport from Kiev was restored, we went home; hoping to continue with life as usual.
“We no longer recognized our own city. We were shocked to see half the city had been destroyed. Many people had left. Those who remained were hiding in their homes. The atmosphere was terrible. Two weeks later we decided to make Aliyah. But we wanted to integrate into Israel via the First Home in the Homeland program. It implied that space had to become available, and we had to wait. But, three weeks later we were invited to partake in the program in kibbutz Revivim. We were greatly encouraged!”
Arrival in Israel
“Our arrival in Israel went well. We are very pleased with the assistance we received from the Jewish Agency. Israel is so different from the Ukraine! The sky is blue and the sun shines, almost all the time. People laugh and they are kind. We receive help and are welcomed. The kibbutz is lush and green, precisely as we imagined it to be. Our first impressions are wonderful.”
Jewish Katia, Dennis and their son Daniel
A scared woman in Lugansk