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Worth the Wait: One Family’s Delayed Journey to Israel

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Posted on: 
22 Oct 2020
Worth the Wait: One Family’s Delayed Journey to Israel

This has been a most unusual and exciting year for the ICEJ in our Aliyah efforts. Despite the Coronavirus travel bans, we have been able to sponsor Aliyah flights to Israel for nearly 1,500 Jews – the most in a single year since the 1990s, and the year is not over yet! This includes 268 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, and the rest from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

The Aliyah from the North is continuing every week. And now, the Israeli government has approved plans to bring another 2,000 Ethiopian olim over coming months, and the Jewish Agency has requested our assistance in sponsoring their journey home.

Here is the story of one of the families we recently brought on an Aliyah flight to the Land of Israel.

Dmitry and Alexandra Tyrtyshny, and their son Svyatoslav, came to Israel from Russia on an ICEJ-sponsored flight on August 31. Just a couple years ago, Alexandra was ready to make Aliyah with her son, but then a delightfully unexpected event happened. She met her future husband, and he was ready to follow her to a new life in Israel. It took over a year to arrange everything for the move to Israel. Yet despite the Corona crisis, they were able to take this important step in their lives with the help of the Christian Embassy, partnering with the Jewish Agency.

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to move away from Samara, my home city. I lived with a dream to go somewhere, I even had the idea of going to China to work there as an English teacher,” said Alexandra. “But when I found out about my pregnancy, naturally the attempt ‘to conquer the world’ had to be postponed,” she explained.

After the birth of her son, Alexandra faced an unpleasant turn of events when she became divorced from her husband. Afterwards, she devoted herself to caring for her child and the dream of moving had to be put on hold. Then she remembered her Jewish roots and realised: “Where else will I be welcomed as if I was coming home? Only in Israel!”

By this time, Svyatoslav was two years old and he had a year left before enrolling in pre-kindergarten. “I had a whole year ahead of me to find out all the details regarding my opportunities in Israel,” she recalled.

Alexandra had already visited Israel through the Taglit-Birthright program and began to study Hebrew, but there was still much to learn and plan. Then in the midst of her planning, change came again.

“During the year I had planned to make Aliyah, I found Dmitry, a loving husband and a wonderful father for my son!” shared Alexandra. “But it meant our move was postponed for another year.”

Even though Israel is ready to accept Jews with their non-Jewish spouses, the couple must live a year in marriage before getting approved for Aliyah. During that year, Alexandra with her husband studied Hebrew, prepared documents, and thought about things they would take with them to Israel.

“The most difficult thing was probably to convince our parents that we wanted to make our lives better, not worse,” recounted Alexandra. “For them, Israel is another world, full of problems and dangers, into which they were not ready to release their children.”

There were many obstacles in their way while making Aliyah, including the Coronavirus pandemic. “We had already begun to fear. Do we really have to postpone our dream again, for an indefinite period?” Alexandra confided. “But no virus could scare us. The Jewish Agency, the Israeli Embassy, the Ministry of Integration, and all who are involved in our Aliyah, they were all there to help!” she stated. “And now our dreams have come true!”

After making Aliyah on the ICEJ-sponsored flight, Alexandra and her family stayed at a special quarantine hotel in Israel, which gave her time to look back on her recent journey in life.

“As we reflect on the path we have traveled and try to imagine our future here, Israel is a country that made the impossible possible to bring us here,” said Alexandra. “We will have six months to learn the language and at the same time create new dreams and make new plans!”

There are many more Jewish families with dreams to come home to Israel, and they need our help as well. The Ethiopian Aliyah has become especially urgent, as hundreds are expected to start coming on flights in early December. But it will only be possible if Christians like you join with us in bringing them back to the Promised Land.

So please give your best gift today to support the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts.