When I found out about my dad’s gangrene, I called the occupation headquarters, and asked them to give my parents humanitarian aid, at least medications. But no... Our rabbi was the only one who agreed to help. I will pray for him. He didn’t even ask if I come to community events or not. And pretty much the next day he sent a photo of my parents in the car
My younger son is very impressionable, and I tried to save his psyche. But he still gets scared of every little sound. When we were in Zaporizhzhya, there was an explosion at Khortyzia, and he came out of the room and burst into crying. He was crying and shaking; we barely calmed him down. He has a friend, a girl he met through a dancing class. And this girl has an older sister with a four year old daughter. Their family was cooking food outside when a bomb fell and killed the sister and her daughter. And Diana, who danced with Sasha, ended up with shrapnel in her head and a shattered heel bone. Their dad posts to Facebook and cries all the time. Diana was taken to Germany for surgery.
Another friend of mine was straight up thrown out of his house: the Chechens came and told him to leave: there will be fighting here. He said they were put on buses and taken to Yaroslavl, and then he managed to get to Georgia via Moscow. He is a sailor, with tattoos, albeit old ones. And still they picked on him at the checkpoints. One of the soldiers told his partner: ask him a few questions, if you don’t like the answers, detain him. He wanted to tell them what’s on his mind, but bit his tongue, and they let him go. When he got back on the bus, and this was almost at the border, and it was mostly Georgians there, they started hugging him and offered to come over for khachapuri.
Another young woman I know only left the basement in April. I have to come back for my parents, and she says, don’t. It’s scary there, and there are corpses on the streets.
I started looking at Russians differently
In Berdyansk, when they gave us food, we kissed the bread. It shouldn’t be like that. We were staying in a children’s camp there, and we started getting reception. A neighbor wrote to me that our house was hit. On April 7th, another neighbor said that her brother walked by and saw that my parents are still alive; the house is almost intact, and the neighbors feed my parents. They come over and cook food in the fire pit.
Then I started looking for volunteers that could get my parents out. I tried going back to take them, and it didn’t work out. What can I do? My mom has had a stroke, and my father now has gangrene. I even thought about going through Russia and DNR to Novoazovsk.
I contacted everyone I could think of: the ministry of emergency management and disaster response in DNR and in Russia. When I found out about my dad’s gangrene, I called the occupation headquarters, and asked them to give my parents humanitarian aid, at least medications. But no…
My father is a Jew, so from Zaporizhzhya I called the Hesed case worker, and she gave me the number for our rabbi, Mendl Cohen. He was the only one who agreed to help. I will pray for him. He didn’t even ask if I come to community events or not. And pretty much the next day he sent a photo of my parents in the car. Now they are in Rostov, waiting for repatriation to Israel, just like me. My Jews got me out. And my parents too.
Although my cousin invited us to Russia. She is from Mariupol, but has been living in Russia since 2014. She understands everything and wants to help with her whole heart. But I just have a mental block on Russia. I started looking at Russians differently; I didn’t used to be like that. I always knew that every nation has shitty people, and you can’t judge everyone by them. But now - I don’t know. Many people have relatives there, who keep repeating: we will liberate you. That tore so many families! You try to explain to them that a city has been demolished, children are dying, the birthing center was bombed, and so was the theater: it’s all much scarier than on your TV.