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Personal Testimonies from ICEJ Aliyah

Lera Fulfills Her Dream

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Posted on: 
9 Sep 2020
Personal Testimonies from ICEJ Aliyah

Thanks to the generosity of Christians worldwide, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been exceeding its “Rescue250” campaign goal of funding evacuation flights for at least 250 Jews each month while coronavirus is still impacting the world.

With all the negative reports associated with COVID-19, it is exciting to share such good news! Over the past six months, the Christian Embassy has managed to bring 1,429 Jewish immigrants on flights to Israel arranged through the Jewish Agency.

We also would like to share the touching story of the Mashevskaya family, who came to Israel recently on one of the ICEJ’s Aliyah flights from Russia. After Lera Mashevskaya, her husband Ivan, and their three children (Slavik, Adrian, and Alice) made Aliyah, they stayed in a special quarantine hotel for two weeks. This gave them time to reflect on the long journey that took them through a family crisis and into their new beginning here in Israel.

When Lera was 13 years old, she went to a Jewish Agency summer camp for Jewish youths in Russia. It was there that Lera felt like she was really Jewish for the first time and started learning about the history and traditions of her people.

At that moment, a burning desire was kindled in Lera’s heart to go to Israel, but her mother was against it. It would take another 13 years for her dream to start coming true. Her first visit to Israel happened as part of a 10-day Taglit (Birthright) tour of Israel granted to young Diaspora Jews.

“At the time, I had already met my husband Ivan. We soon became the parents of our first son—Slavik,” recounted Lera. “I passionately wanted to make Aliyah, but Ivan would have nothing of it.”

The next time Lera came to Israel was on her twenty-ninth birthday. By this time, she and Ivan had two children. But Ivan still had reservations about moving to Israel. Deeply torn but sensing an undeniable draw to Israel, Lera left the two young ones with her husband and mother and came for another visit.

“It was very hard, but I wanted to give Israel a real try, on my own,” she confided. “I had a deep love in my heart for this country and longed to move here.”

Lera spent four months in Israel as part of the MASA program, which helps young Jews abroad come to Israel to further their university studies. She used the opportunity to receive training in a new profession and was certified as a personal life coach. The skills Lera learned were in high demand back in Russia, so the family’s circumstances improved and her husband began to see Israel differently. Then in the spring of 2019, with Lera six months pregnant with her third child, the whole family came to Israel as tourists.

“I showed them my favorite places in my beloved country,” said Lera. “For two weeks, we drove from Acre to Eilat, dipped our legs in the Dead Sea, visited Jerusalem and prayed at the Kotel, and danced on the beaches of Tel Aviv. During this trip, my husband began to really like Israel, but he still was not ready to leave Moscow.” This spring, however, the coronavirus pandemic changed his mind.

“My husband started working online, without visiting the office. Our family spent all our days together, our relationships grew closer and closer,” Lera explained. “My husband realized that he could do his work from anywhere in the world, and he agreed to make Aliyah. Finally, my dream came true—on June 16, we flew to Israel!”

Lera and Ivan have come a long way as a couple and now want to help others overcome their differences. So they created the “Family Coaching Project” to coach other couples. Even during their two weeks of quarantine after arriving in Israel, they were counseling other immigrant families in the quarantine hotel.

“We so want to become a family that will be useful for this State and its wonderful people. In response to the love and care that we received, I want to love, give, and care for others in response, three times over,” Lera concluded.

We are so glad that through the ICEJ, Christians have played a central role in changing the lives of so many Jewish immigrants to Israel. Thank you for helping Lera and her family - together let's help more Jews return "home."


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