Alex*, an orphan originally from Kharkiv, who grew up attending Sha’alavim Day School and Camp Ramah Yachad, spent three weeks in the Midreshet Schechter Ukraine/Masorti Olami refugee center in Chernivtsi before arriving in Israel. And finally, on Wednesday, April 6th, Rabbi Irina Gritsevskaya, Executive Director of Midreshet Schechter, drove him to his boarding school where he started his new life in Israel. Many people made possible this young man’s aliya: Maria, the principal of the Sha’alavim Day School in Kharkiv, found his legal guardian and dealt with bureaucratic steps to allow Alex to leave Ukraine. Lev Kleiman, the leader of the community in Chernivtsi, oversaw Alex’s safety and wellbeing while he was in the city and orchestrated Alex’s border crossing from Ukraine, including finding a family to accompany him over the border (pictured below).
Rabbi Gritsevskaya was waiting for him in Bucharest, where the process was much smoother than expected, thanks to Lev who helped by contacting the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nativ, a program that helps young men and women make aliya from the Former Soviet Union. The two returned to Israel several days later. For the first time in his life, Alex got to fly on a plane and see Israel.
By chance, Alex celebrated his birthday in April, and as a birthday surprise celebration, some of his Ramah Yachad counselors threw him a party.
Alex is now in the north of Israel and is being taken care of by Nativ. He is adapting to the new culture and making many friends.
The Schechter Institutes, together with our partners at Masorti Olami, are currently spending $25,000 each week to house, feed, and meet travel expenses for hundreds of people in Ukraine: