Recently we helped Tamara on her way to Israel, completing a process that began many years ago.
We have known this family for many years. In the early days of our work here in Siberia (1998)a man came to our office, a relative of Tamara’s husband. To this day we remember that meeting. His coming that day was like the coming of an angel! At that time we were praying and asked God that He would show us the places He wanted us to go fishing and the first thing this man asked at the meeting was “don’t you want to come to our town?” To our question “why? – are Jewish people living there?” he answered in typical Jewish style “but what have I just been telling you? Come and see for yourselves.” We prayed and received peace from the Lord, and not long afterwards set off for our first long distance fishing trip to this unknown territory. There we found many Jewish families living in several villages who quietly hid their Jewish roots and knew almost nothing about the existence of the Law of Return, according to which they have the right to return to Israel.
Before his departure to Israel this man introduced us to his cousin Joseph (Tamara’s husband) who told us how their family had ended up in Siberia. In the nineteenth century, after the Polish uprising, many Jewish people ended up here as political exiles from Poland. Amongst them was Levit Bar Moshe, which means Levit, son of Moses.
Joseph’s grandfather was taken into the Tsar’s army when he was only 8 years old (as a musician) and served there for 25 years, after which he got married. He had 7 children. Before we met Joseph he had not known the real name of his father as the family had suffered a lot because of their Jewish heritage and his name had been changed in his passport. His father died as a young man.
When we got to know Joseph he told us that he wanted to know his father’s real name. In our office we had copies of archive documents which we had obtained on a fishing trip. Knowing the names of his grandparents and their dates of birth, we found a list of all their children without any problems and we also found out Joseph’s father’s real name!
This family came to us for help several times. We helped them with their trip to the Consul, helped them with their international passports and on their departure day helped them to the airport with their luggage.
Unfortunately before their departure Tamara became seriously ill and needed medical help. Joseph had to leave alone – to get settled in Israel, rent a flat etc and she remained behind to get treatment. A day after his flight Joseph phoned us from Israel and said that everything had worked out wonderfully and thanked us for the help we’d given. We rejoiced together with him and thought that soon we would accompany his wife Tamara on her way to Israel but things didn’t turn out that way. Sadly not long afterwards Joseph had a stroke and died and Tamara’s departure to Israel was delayed for many years.
This year her daughter, Maria, who has lived in Israel already several years came to Siberia in order to take her mother back with her to Israel. They again came to us for help – to pay for the journey to the consul in Novosibirsk. We bought tickets for Tamara but something happened and the consular check was cancelled. Her daughter who had come to accompany her had to return to Israel to get back to work, and so they asked us if we could pay for her journey to Moscow (to the main Consul) and we took the decision to help them, otherwise Tamara would have to have travelled alone.
Before her departure to Israel we again visited Tamara at her home. Early morning on the next day we helped her and her daughter get to the airport. Tamara and Maria were very thankful for all the help we gave them.