You Gave Me the Chance of a New Life!

Timur’s story as told to Alex, Ezra’s representative in Uzbekistan

For me making Aliyah is important for many reasons, but the main one is because I’m Jewish!  I found out that I’m Jewish when I was 15 years old and since then I’ve had a dream of living in Israel, the country of the Jewish people.  I think this is the most important step I’ve taken in my life so far.

For a long time I didn’t even the opportunity to think about making Aliyah.  I am an orphan, left without my mother from a young age.  I didn’t even know my father.  When I got to know the Ezra workers I told them about my life.  All my relatives are criminals!  In my early childhood I lived among drug addicts with my mother.  She ended up in prison for a long time and died due to drugs.  My grandfather, Ilya, was a well-known criminal in Moscow and died in 2001.  My brother is in prison for robbery.  I am thankful to God that I was in an orphanage and didn’t follow in my relatives’ footsteps.  So, for me, it’s important to leave for Israel – everything here reminds me of these things.  I think I can start a new life in a new country.  .  I have accompanied many of my friends when they were leaving for Israel.  When it seemed like I couldn’t leave because of lack of proof (of Jewishness) it was very sad for me but, on saying goodbye, we would promise ourselves that we would meet again for sure!

When I get to Israel I first want to learn the language and to serve in the Army.  I’ve dreamt for a long time about joining the IDF and of being in a combat unit.  I want to protect the country.  And, like any young guy, I have a dream of starting a family there.

Ezra helped me enormously in this process.  Honestly, I couldn’t have done even 1% of the work that your workers did.  In the first place I don’t have much money and there’s a lot to pay for.  Secondly, I had no idea where to go and how to start.  Thirdly, I needed the help of a competent lawyer as I had to make a lot of [official] enquiries and go to a lot of offices.  Ezra workers did all this for me!

It all started with the search for my grandfather’s documents.  We wrote to all the Registry Offices in Tashkent but couldn’t find any traces.  It was a miracle we finally found him – on the internet we found news that in 2001 a well-known swindler with my grandfather’s initials was killed.  I remembered that my mother had told me about him – that he was a wheeler and dealer well known in the criminal world.  An Ezra volunteer in Moscow was able to find his death certificate in the Central archives of the Registry Office there.  They found all his information.  I think that was a miracle!  After that I had full confidence that I would soon be able to leave for Israel.

As well as having to make these enquiries in Moscow to find proof of my grandfather’s death, there were other costs involved which Ezra took on themselves.

Ezra also helped me with my passport – actually twice.  I lost the first passport when I was sleeping rough as I had nowhere to stay.  Later, when they heard about this Ezra helped me find somewhere to stay as well as get another passport.  Ezra also helped with the Military offices and helped me get my military ID.  The people in these offices hadn’t even wanted to speak to me until I went along with an Ezra worker!

And then, at the very end when Israel was already close, my health became a problem.  Whether it was due to nerves, or lack of vitamins I began to have problems with my heart and at times I was so weak I couldn’t even stand up.  And again Ezra came to the rescue helping me get medical tests and medicine.

I don’t really have any worries about leaving here.  I am happy that I’m going – I don’t have anything to lose here except bad memories of a sad childhood.

I don’t know what to say, what words I can use to express my gratitude.  A HUGE thank you!  I am happy that I met you.  You gave me the chance of a new life.

Alex, our representative in Uzbekistan adds:  “Up till the very last moment there were problems after problems along Timur’s path.  Even when we went to pick him up through the night in order to take him to the airport, he had slept in as his alarm clock didn’t go off!  We had to rush so that he wouldn’t be late for his flight.  We will all remember this lad for a long time!  When I told our team that Timur had made his Aliyah everyone thanked God as they’d all been concerned for him.  Everyone had given part of his life to him, seeing him come up from the very bottom.”