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Biblical understanding about Israel
Sofiya Otovchitz' story reminds me of the general trend to make Aliyah in the 1990s, when people were not just leaving the country due to economic decline but due to spiritual matters as well. We already knew that mixed marriages cause problems when people want to make Aliyah. Relatives from the non-Jewish husband/wife were usually the main obstacle on the way to Israel.
Sofiya’s story is the very example of this problem. For many years, her husband's relatives (they are Ukrainians) were opposing their move to Israel. From childhood on Sofiya always heard from her Jewish parents that all Jews will come together one day in Zion, and then Mashiach will come. However, inside the communistic system of the USSR, marriage of a Jewish woman with a Ukrainian man and assimilation itself precludes a smooth process when planning to move to Israel. In addition, Sofiya clearly remembers the painted slogan on her house: “Beat up the Yids!” ("Yids" are Jews). Nevertheless, she treasured her dream in her heart. That is why, when her husband died, it was no surprise that Sofiya went to Kiev to visit the Israeli consulate in order to secure an immigration visa and all the other necessary documents. Sofiya and her husband have always led a very humble life. When she was in Kiev she was touched and impressed by the fact that there are Christians who covered her expenses (passport, transportation and so forth).
Recently she left for Israel to make Aliyah with a flight organized by the Jewish Agency. We had a unique opportunity to be able to explain to her why her dream came true after all and who provided for her!
Aliyah fieldworker Natalya and team