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And the waters were divided…

Elena Kovarsky - 25 March 2021

“But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”
Exodus (14:29)

And the waters were divided…

This is a story about a young woman from Transcarpathia who made aliyah in March 2021.

Shortly before Passover, we welcomed four planes with olim families from Russia, Ukraine, the USA, Argentina and South Africa. It felt like a blessing and a real miracle after a long break. It seemed as if the seas parted and opened the way home for thousands of people. All those families had different reasons for making aliyah: anti-Semitism, injustice, their political situation, a tribute to ancestors.

For single mother Natalia Kleiner from a small town of Mukatchevo (Ukraine) it was the only chance to secure better future of her 8-year-old daughter Emilia. She was looking forward to that moment. She quit her job, but she still had to pay rent and feed her daughter.

“The pandemic has made its own adjustments to our plans. Thanks to the assistance of ‘Christians for Israel’ we are keeping afloat! I felt that it was important for them to support us and they were very happy to welcome me and my daughter in Kiev and escort us to the Holy Land after a month of waiting”, said Natalia. Now she and Emilia are in Israel, quarantining in a hotel. Meanwhile, a cozy dwelling awaits them in Kibbutz Revivim in the Negev desert.

To understand why it was a vital step for Natalia, one should know the history of her Motherland. Transcarpathia Jewishness started settling in Mukatchevo from the 1600s. By 1938 Jews made up 44% of its population. At that time there were 30 synagogues, an elementary school and a gymnasium for Jewish children in Mukatchevo.

Everything changed when Mukatchevo came under Hungarian rule once more. During World War II, Jews served in labor battalions and were sent to the most dangerous camps and at factories. In 1944, two ghettos were created in Mukatchevo, and all their prisoners ended up in Auschwitz.

However, with the end of the war, Transcarpathia Jews were still oppressed, this time by the Soviet Union authorities. In 1959 only 2000 of them were living in the region and its last synagogues had been closed for worship. By 2005 just 300 Jews remained.

Natalia with her daughter and grandfather in Mukatchevo.

Despite all difficulties, it was very important for Mukatchevo Jews to preserve their traditions and cultural values and to pass them on to their descendants, which they did, successfully. Thus, Natalia knew everything about herself, her history and her roots. In 1990 the synagogue was returned to the Jewish community. Now Natalia’s grandfather is its member.

As for Natalya, she went to the Sunday Jewish school and participated in the youth club, celebrated all Jewish holidays and felt like a part of a great people, Jewish people!

Now Natalia and her daughter begin their journey through the land that was given to their ancestors by G-d!

Natalia and her daughter Emilia before their flight to Israel.

According to Natalia, she believes in miracles: “One of them has happened to me. On the eve of Passover, I am here, in the Holy Land, free – physically and mentally! I thank everyone who has been through this with me and I anticipate getting to know my home.”

So, let us wish that Natalia and her daughter find inner peace and happiness in their new home!


Christians for Israel helped this family to start their journey and First Home in the Homeland is helping them to continue it. Assisting a family in the “First Home” program costs € 230 euro / US $ 250 a month.


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