CFI Media Production
CFI reaches out to the Holocaust Survivors
throughout the Land of Israel.
In this Video, CFI Project "Forsake Them Not" Supervisor
Olga Kopilova shares with us some
special moments and some precious stories given
directly from the Holocaust survivors themselves.
Watch on CFI You Tube Channel
Bringing comfort to Holocaust Survivors in Israel
Forsake Them Not by Olga Kopilova
The Holocaust is one of the most grievous events of human history.
6 million innocent people, whose only crime was to be born Jewish, were annihilated by other humans.
God’s heart grieves, and deeply aches for the loss and pain of His firstborn. God’s heart grieves over one of the biggest tragedies of the human race. We grieve with Him, and yet we rejoice with Him, with those who survived, with those who thrived, and with those who moved back into their true homeland, Israel, and lived successful and full lives.
The task of the Forsake Them Not team, as we still have precious Survivors with us, is to listen and to hear the truth of their stories. It is our responsibility to hear what the hearts of the Holocaust Survivors are trying to say beyond the pages of a history book, to uplift them in prayer and to become their voices for future generations.
As a team, we are blessed that we can bring love, comfort, and gifts. Our goal, as always, is to reach as many holocaust survivors as we can through home visits, scheduling and attending special events, phone calls, greeting cards and gifts. Over the years, we have learned that attention is what is needed most.
A listening ear, a hug, an unhurried visit – these are the “gifts” that are longed for. Each year the stark reality, that our time with these precious people, is so limited becomes more and more clear.
We know we must work while it is day.
The Forsake Them Not team makes many trips all around Israel to visit these survivors in their sunset years, whose glory is in the fruit of their lives and in the inheritance of their children. We are honored to know each one, and we are so grateful for all of the prayers and support of you, our faithful supporters, for enabling us to ‘forsake them not.’
Contact Forsake Them Not at: firstname.lastname@example.org
May 2021 - Project Update by Olga Kopilova
“And Moses said to the people: “Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place” (Exodus 13:3a).
The Lord’s command to us to remember is for our own benefit. How often were our hearts lifted up and filled with joy and gratitude when we looked back and saw the deliverance of the Lord. Pesach, or Pass- over, is a joyful season and a time of reflection for the Jewish people. This year, restrictions to celebrate with friends and family were lifted and people embraced the festive celebration of the Pesach Seder, the feast, when the story of Exodus from Egypt is retold again. We remember; therefore we celebrate.
After yearlong restrictions for gatherings and celebrations, life slowly is starting get back to a new norm. Finally, local organisations of the Holocaust Survivors are able to meet together, but still with certain limits. Thus, Ashkelon’s organisation invited us to participate in a Pesach and Holocaust remembrance event, where 50 people were able
to come together in the open air. Both events had one theme in common – the need to remember both the sad and joyful histories. We had a reason for celebration indeed. After lighting six candles
to remember the 6 million innocent Jewish people who perished in the Holocaust, including family members of those present, we also spoke of the miracle of deliverance and marvellous works of God. We finished the event with the giving of gifts and a wonderful music performance. It was so wonderful to see our precious friends again.
After the event we also visited those who couldn’t come, and delivered their food vouchers and greeting cards. When I came to visit Yakov, who was just released from the hospital, I was very saddened. Yakov turned 92 just a few months ago and we knew him and his wife Vera so well. We were always welcomed to their home as close family members. I will never forget our last visit in the summer, how Yakov played his keyboard and sang songs in Yiddish for us. After a long lockdown, that visit lifted Yakov’s spirit up and brought a lot of joy. Still, Yakov’s condition worsened and I found him on his death bed, surrounded by his wife and caregivers. The atmosphere was heavy and everyone was sighing deeply. Yakov was very weak and his eyes were closed, but when he finally saw me, he brightened up! He was so happy to see me, and asked me about our wellbeing. It was so sweet. Yakov passed away two days later, but we will cherish the memories we were able to have. What a privilege it was indeed to see Yakov and to bring some joy and comfort to his last days.
Altogether, we had many special visits with our dear friends, listening to their hearts and needs. One of them was with Klara. Klara is 89 years old and she doesn’t have children or other relatives to look after her, so we truly became her family. She also had a 24-hour caregiver, who mistreated her badly, and Klara spent months in the hospital. Now she has a new caregiver, but is very afraid and struggles to trust. We had a wonderful time speaking of the need for forgiveness and praying together. Klara also had a special need to purchase some essential items from the pharmacy shop, and I was so happy we were able to assist her with those. After I finished my other visits, I purchased everything Klara needed and delivered it to her. There was no limit to her gratitude, as she felt loved and cared for.
All these kind acts and special encounters would not be possible without you!
Thank you so very much for showing kindness to His special treasures through your prayers and financial support. Yeshua prayed to His Father in John 17:21, “that they all may be one”, and we do see and feel your love. We know we are not alone in our effort, and neither are the Holocaust Survivors. As we remember how the Lord delivered His people during the Holocaust, we do rejoice in His salvation, together with those who are still with us!
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.”
(1 Chronicles 16:8, 12)
Olga Kopilova Project Supervisor
April 2021 - Project Update by Olga Kopilova
“I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds” Psalm 77:11-12.
To remember is a decision, an actual action that takes time, and often effort. We have a tendency to have short memories, as often it is a painful decision to remember the wonders of old. However, by remembering, the events and peoples long gone, are preserved. It is because someone in the past remembered to remember that we have history today.
Our precious Holocaust Survivors – they all are the history writers as they share their experience during the Holocaust, telling their stories to future generations. We also can choose to be the part of that history as we continue to remember, to meditate and to talk about it.
In January, as Israel was in the third lockdown, and we were not able to visit people, we chose to remember. We called our precious friends, we wrote their stories and we cried finding out some of our dear ones had passed away. We also participated in the International Holocaust Remembrance Day event, organised by the Association of the Concentration Camps and Ghetto Survivors, on Zoom. One of the main themes of the event was the importance of preserving the memories of those who lived through the horrors of the Holocaust. We heard many personal testimonies and historical facts. Once again, we were reminded to remember and to speak out for those who will never again be able to speak for themselves.
News of Motl’s passing away was heartbreaking, but not surprising. He was a very special person, and we shared a deep bond. I would like to honour Motl’s memory by sharing a small part of his story.
Motl’s childhood was not much different from other children born in Poland in 1926. His parents lived in Vladimir-Volynsky, where, before WWII began, more than half of the population were Jews. After the Red Army invaded Vladimir-Volynsky in 1939, it became part of the Soviet Union. Motl had three sisters, and his mother was busy with their education and looking after the house.
The start of the war was horrific. The border was only five kilometres away. Jewish homes were burnt, and the town was constantly under threat of shootings and bombings.
By the 23rd of June 1941, just a day after the war began, the Germans were already in the town. Motl remembers the “new order” that forced all the Jews to wear yellow stars of David. They were also put into ghettos where they were constantly robbed of their belongings and mocked, not only by the Germans but also the Ukrainian police.
On the 12th of November 1942 a pogrom started in the ghetto. It was carried out by a group of the SS with the help of the local Ukrainian police. Motl’s mother and father, sister Sura and grandfather tried to hide, but they did not succeed.
They were all shot, along with many other Jews. His two other sisters managed to escape
and hide with a local peasant family whom they knew well.
Motl wanted to take revenge and joined the group of Polish partisans at the end of January 1943. While serving in the partisan Motl learned how to use different weapons. He was brave and gifted and very soon the commanders started to
involve him in the serious resistance operations. In April 1944 the Germans attacked their partisan base. Many died, but they continued to resist the attack. Over 20 Germans were taken captive, and Motl was recognised for his bravery again.
After the war, Motl studied and later worked as a director of a big shopping center. He had two daughters, grandchildren and many great grandchildren. Motl also loved singing songs in Yiddish and was part of local choir.
We do remember and appreciate Motl’s life and impact it made in our lives. Today we are saying for Motl, “Never Again!”
Thank you so very much for your love and support shown through action. Thank you for helping us to remember and to speak out, preserving the memories, and writing the history. Let us remember to remember. As we run this race against time to reach out to as many Holocaust Survivors as possible, we highly appreciate your prayers and stand with us.
We do remember those who died. We do remember those who are living.
“Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people. When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble” Psalm 9:11-12.
Olga Kopilova Project Supervisor
February 2021 - Project Update by Olga Kopilova
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Are we all not thankful for the light on bright sunny days that dispels the darkness, bringing warmth to body, soul and spirit. The light is needed when the darkness draws near and the night comes.
No doubt we are living in increasingly dark and challenging times. The corruption and evil of the human heart seems to have no limits. But while there is light, there also is hope.
As a team here in Israel, we have had many opportunities to bring that light and hope to our precious friends on lonely and dark winter days. That was especially evident as we celebrated the Hanukkah miracle, reminding us that light always overcomes darkness.
One of the highlights of our visits was the special time with our friend, Tsilya. We celebrated her 90th birthday back in February, just before the lockdown hit the country. What a wonderful time we had then, even dancing together. Tsilya introduced us to her large family and was so happy and proud we came. The bond we share with her is indeed precious. We love her, and she immensely loves us.
We were also thankful to continue our tradition of celebrating Hanukkah with our precious Holocaust survivors in the northern town of Safed. It was a year ago when we were able to meet last, then COVID19 hit and all activities were put on hold. It was so wonderful to see one another again, to talk about the news, to read Bible verses about the Light and hear the testimonies of triumph over evil. We saw how our visit strengthened and encouraged each one to face the challenges ahead. They left to return to their homes with much joy and laughter. We can overcome the darkness, together.
There was another remarkable and joyful event we were able to participate in – a Hanukkah celebration on Zoom - with the leaders of the Association of the Concentration Camps and Ghetto Survivors. We exchanged holiday greetings, ate sufganiyot (round jelly doughnuts, traditional Israeli Hanukkah fare), recounted the blessing of the Festival of Light and lit the Hanukkiah together. When all nine candles were lit, the light shone really bright, filling our hearts with gladness and bringing new hope. We will overcome the darkness, together.
Thank you so very much for helping us bring God’s love and light in this dark season of the year, through smiles, kind words and God’s Word. Thank you for helping us remind these precious friends, that winter will pass and spring will come. Thank you for lifting His special possession, and us, your hands and feet, in your prayers. May God let His light shine brightly through us. We can, and we will, overcome the darkness together.
“Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)
We knew this visit would be different, and earnestly prayed for courage, wisdom and comfort. As much as we were looking forward to seeing her, our hearts were broken. The news of Tsilya's situation was absolutely unexpected and hard to accept. She had suffered a stroke that left her unable to move or speak. Our dearest friend became the prisoner of her own body and now needed round-the-clock special care. Even so, there was no limit to Tsilya’s joy and excitement when she saw us, and there was no limit to our gratitude when we greeted her in her wheelchair, smiling as best she could. She held my hand for the entire visit and even tried to speak. She called our names and though we couldn’t understand her words, it didn’t matter. We were all so happy to be together, to create more memories, to take more pictures and share joy and comfort in her time of need. How grateful we were to bring the beam of God’s light and love to her isolated heart.
December 2020 - Project Update by Olga Kopilova
I believe that most, if not all of us, love to receive gifts, whether a small token, or something bigger we were dreaming about. The beauty of gift giving is that it is usually not earned or even deserved. The gift is usually a free will offering from the one, who chooses to present it. There is joy in both the giving and receiving. The biggest gift we can ever receive is the gift of life given to all mankind by the Creator. The Lord is a Giver of good gifts, and we were made into His likeness. Lately we had many opportunities to remind our precious survivors of such a gift, and to celebrate the special gift of their lives. We were also able to bring them some practical gifts on your behalf. We are indeed ever so grateful for the privilege of being able to do it.
As you already know, every year we create a new card to send to our friends for their birthdays. As we prayed and discussed the matter, the Lord gave us wonderful idea – to use the painting of one of the Holocaust Survivors, Efim Malkin, presented to us as a gift a few years ago, as the backdrop for our cards. Efim was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1930. In 1939 Germany invaded Romania, and Efim’s family moved to Moldova, where his grandfather, who was a Rabbi, lived. Efim was only 11 when the war started. He is the survivor of Beresovka and Bogdanovka concentration camps, and Domaniovka ghetto. Now Efim lives in Migdal HaEmek with his second wife Luba. Painting beautiful pictures became his favourite hobby.
Efim gladly agreed with our idea, and allowed us to use his painting. Our Media team helped us in creating a beautiful card and soon we had it printed out as a high quality gift. Inside we included the words from Psalm 107: “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” We are also praying this card would be a blessing and comfort to many.
We also received a very special gift, created by a very precious lady Maya, 29 years ago. A gift that brought a lot of joy and laughter to many children and adults in Sderot, a town which for decades, experienced constant rocket attacks from Gaza. This gift that we received with great responsibility and honour was a puppet soldier doll. For many years, Maya performed at many different events with the puppet dolls she created herself. Her goal always was to bring joy to others. Now, as Maya turned 90, she is not able to do it any longer, and she found homes for every doll, in hopes that her legacy of joy would continue to live. Maya was born in the village of Yampol in Ukraine in 1930 and was the youngest of 4 siblings. In 1932, after her father died of typhus and their house was destroyed by flooding, all the children went to different orphanages. During the war Maya’s life was miraculously saved many times, as the Germans raided orphanages in search of Jews and betrayal was common. Despite all the hardship of her life, Maya is one of the sweetest people we know.
We also were able to celebrate a very special birthday, the 80th, with Boris and his closest friends. It was indeed a privilege for us, as the number of people for gatherings is very limited. The story of Boris’s survival is remarkable, and indeed his life worth celebrating. Now, as Boris looks back on his life, he sees God’s mighty hand in preserving his life and helping him to go through it. “Every day is a gift, and I am ever so grateful for it,” he said. We also were grateful to join the celebration, and to be among the closest friends.
All this, and so much more, would not be possible without faithful and loving support from all our friends in so many different nations! Thank you for all your gifts, which I believe reflect God's heart and impact so many lives! Thank you for once accepting the biggest gift of His love and life, you are willingly and generously sharing it with others, for the glory of His precious name! Our prayer is that we all would pour out our lives as living sacrifices, as the act of worship to the Giver of Life.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)