November 4, 2007 / 23 Cheshvan 5768
The Zhukovs, new immigrants from Russia whose three-year-old son is suffering from cancer, are extremely grateful to all the Jewish Agency professionals who have eased their way as they take their initial steps in Israel. Igor says, “I believe that you haven't just brought a Jewish family back home, but, you've also saved my son's life.”
On September 25, 2007, the Zhukov family arrived as new immigrants to Israel from Krekshino, Russia to live the dream as Jews in the Jewish homeland. But there was also something else: Gregor, 3, had been diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. His doctors in Russia were in contact with medical professionals at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and believed that his best chances for successful treatment were in Israel. If the desire to make aliyah was not enough, this medical opinion was all they needed to make the move.
Igor Zhukov's Jewish education came mostly from his grandmother. He remembers that as a child, "A neighbor had suggested that I go to synagogue in order to learn Hebrew. I remember that there were two Jewish people inside. After a few minutes a KGB agent entered the synagogue and asked me why I was inside. He took me to the police station and my mother had to come and get me out." Understandably, Igor didn't return to the synagogue after that. "My grandmother was the most profound religious influence in my life. It's because of her that I knew about Yom Kippur and Simhat Torah. She died in 1997, but I know it would have made her very happy that we're now in Israel."
Gregor's diagnosis was a crucial factor in facilitating the aliyah process. Igor asked Gregor's doctors in Russia to get in touch with the specialists at the Department of Oncology at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. With the constant guidance of Hadassah Hospital's expert staff, Gregor's main treatments were performed in Russia. When the family arrived in Jerusalem, they already had appointments set up for Gregor with the Hadassah medical team.
The Zhukovs are settling in to life in Israel. Igor and his wife, Asya, are learning Hebrew at the Jewish Agency absorption center where they currently reside; they have begun planning their professional futures and looking into permanent housing arrangements. When asked how he feels about his new home, the Zhukov’s older son, Ivan, 12, smiles and says, "I like being in Israel. The weather's hot and it's fun. I miss my friends, but I've already made some new ones here. I'm learning Hebrew at a special school that is five bus stops away from the absorption center."
Gregor is also doing well in Israel. The results of his treatments are positive and he is already adjusting to life in his new surroundings.
The Zhukov’s are extremely grateful to all the Jewish Agency professionals who have eased their way as they take their initial steps in Israel. Igor says, “I believe that you haven't just brought a Jewish family back home, but, you've also saved my son's life. Everybody has been so good to us and we have everything we need. We don't have any relatives in Israel, so knowing that the Jewish Agency and its partners care about us gives us a wonderful feeling.”
The Jewish Agency joins the Zhukov family in expressing gratitude for your generous support and continued commitment that make it possible for this family, and families like them around the world, to build a new life in Israel. Together, we are building a strong Jewish future with Israel at is heart. Click here to help support immigrant families like the Zhukovs.