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Biblical understanding about Israel

October 24, 2017

Joyful reunion with Yacov

In the past few days we took olim from Zhitomir, Tjerkacci, Vinnitsa, Kherson, Chmilnitksy, Kamenets-Podolsky, Chernovtsy, Trostjanets and Lvov to the different airports for their permanent departure. Yacov and his wife Sophia were among the many olim in my minibus from the former shtetl of Trostjanets!

I got acquainted with Yacov in September 2011. His life-work was renovating a Jewish mass grave where between the 4th and 10th of May 1919, Three hundred and thirty-six Jews from his shtetl were slaughtered like animals in a pogrom with hayforks, shovels, knives and any other stuff the perpetrators could get their hands on. Among these Jews was Yacov’s grandfather! At that mass grave we had a good conversation about their return. The Jewish mass grave is now renovated, but there was never an official inauguration because the war is still raging in East Ukraine. Yacov told us: “There’s something going on in my heart: me and my wife, being the very last of our whole family, must now go to Israel.”

Yacov and Sophia

Cardigan pocket 
We arrived in their little town late at night to pick them up for a two-hour drive to the airport in Vinnitsa. Before departure I always ask: “Everyone, please make sure you have your passports with you. This the most important thing, because without it you cannot leave!” Yacov answered: “I have the passports in my cardigan pocket!” On the way we talked a lot, but suddenly Yacov said: “Koen, please stop right now!”. “But”, I protested, “in only ten minutes there’s a gas station where we can take a break.” I had to stop immediately because Yacov realised that right before getting into our minibus, he had put on a different cardigan! We were stunned for a moment. We couldn’t go back, missing the flight was no option. We all stayed calm, made some phone calls and yes, someone would bring the passports to us. But would they get there in time? Once we arrived at the airport we heard the good news: the flight was delayed by three hours! Right before saying goodbye, Yacov and Sophia came to thank us, and Yacov said: “The Almighty wants me to go home despite of the obstacles!”

The olim at the airport with Koen Carlier on the right

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