I was awakened in the middle of the night by a flurry of gunshots being fired close to our flat. Instinctually, I jumped out of bed and headed to the other room where my two boys were sleeping. Andre the oldest, was crying with his blanket covering his head and my little Artem was shaking violently. Within seconds, there was a deafening explosion as the windows shattered around us and the front walls of the flat disappeared. It was like watching a movie in slow motion, except we were the stars and the heat of the fire was very real.

I grabbed my boys and headed into the smoke filled hallway and then down the stairs of our shattered building. Our neighbours were doing the same as we continuously tripped over each other while trying to make our way down in the darkness. As we hit the ground floor, chaos and fire surrounded us as we ran for our lives.  

Thank God, Katya and the boys made it out alive and were taken to a bus that was headed to the Kiev region. Today, they are living in Annetevka where we have a specialised program with Rabbi Azman to provide advanced therapeutic care to traumatised Jewish refugees who have escaped the fighting in Eastern Ukraine. 

Currently, Katya continues to suffer from severe depression and is still trying to come to terms with just how close she and her children came to losing their lives. Artem, her youngest son has developed a bad case of psoriasis because of the constant anxiety and stress that he now lives with. Every day, our team of neuropsychologists and social workers are providing the family with the rehabilitative care so that they can learn to cope with their near death experience.  

My family, your special gift of love will help provide the life-saving care that this family and others just like them so desperately need. May God bless you for blessing Israel and our suffering Jewish brothers and sisters.

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