‘I Feel Taken Care Of’

Hava has unbelievable spirit for her age — 94 years old. She doesn’t let herself sit still. Her motto is: “If you want to stay alive, get up and move!”

A survivor of the Holocaust, Hava has relied on her internal strength and spirit to make it through difficult times. She recalls being evacuated in a carriage without a roof during the war: “Mother was squeezing us so tight my sister said, ‘Mama, you will kill me with your hug!’”

When Hava’s family returned to their home after the war, it was ruined, so they lived in a bathhouse for some time. After the war, Hava graduated from a university in Leningrad (which is now St. Petersburg), and worked for the railway all her life. Now in her later years, she is widowed, nearly blind, and diabetic.

Although Hava’s eyesight is very weak, she still manages to go outside, walking six flights of stairs every time. She helps out her elderly neighbours by bringing them some food from a local grocery store, which is how Hava prefers to live her life — she would rather help others and live as independently as possible. However, without her homecare worker, Musya, her life would be much more difficult.

“Thanks to her, I know I am still alive and not alone. And that’s how I live my last years,” says Hava.

When Musya visits, she holds Hava’s hands and makes sure she doesn’t get overwhelmed by her painful memories. When emotions overcome her, Hava orders herself, “Don’t cry, babusya (granny)!” Hava wants to stay strong and keep moving, and it’s much easier with Musya providing her medical care. The two women have become best friends.

Hava’s day begins with an early phone call from Musya. “Musya asks me how feel, what I need. Then she comes, fills my fridge with the meals she’s cooked, makes sure everything is clean and under control, and only then she leaves,” Hava says.

Hava cooks a lot of traditional Jewish meals, too. But storing the food in a proper way only became possible a few years ago, after the Fellowship-supported Hesed organization helped her purchase a fridge.

Thanks to YOU, our wonderful supporters, this dear woman feels that there are people who want to help her live with dignity and stay as independent as possible. “I wish everyone would have such a good life as I have,” she says. “I feel taken care of!”


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