The children of the Alumim Center, the children’s home of the Chabad Jewish organization in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, were rescued from the bombed city two weeks ago in a grueling and dangerous journey that lasted 10 days, and were flown to Israel with the help of the Friendship Fund.
The children are being housed in the JNF/KKL facility in Nes Harim in the Judean Hills west of Jerusalem. In preparation for Purim they drew pictures, wrote greetings in Ukrainian and packed sweets in parcels – to be flown to refugee camps on the borders of Ukraine. Seven-year-old Senijna, who grew up with no mother, displayed the gift package she had prepared to the director of the children’s home, Malki Bukiet.
She said: “I’m doing well here where there is no frightening noise of booms, but I miss my father and the friends who stayed in Zhytomyr very much. I drew them a smiling face and pasted stickers so that they too would be happy.”
The person who organized the rescue operation is the chief rabbi of Zhytomyr and western Ukraine, the Chabad emissary Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm. He told how the 100 children extracted from Ukraine are receiving a “warm embrace” from the many kind Israelis arriving from the surrounding towns.
“On the advice of our educational staff and psychologists, we try to create a routine of study and extracurricular activities for the children and of course help them maintain daily telephone contact – as much as possible, with the family members remaining in Zhytomyr,” said the rabbi. “This weekend we were able to get additional families out of the city, who joined us in Nes Harim. With the help of the Chabad House in Munich, Germany we managed to transport a large truck yesterday with 20 tons of food and basic necessities that will be distributed to residents of the Chabad Zhytomyr house.”