For Georgian Family, Surviving War was Just the Beginning

February 21, 2012


Nodar, 80, was at home with his wife Gulnara, 54, and their daughter Lika, 18, when the Russian Air force suddenly began bombing GoriGeorgia on August 9, 2008. They took cover under furniture as the glass from their balcony shattered and sprayed across the house. A collapsing wall jammed the front door and Nodar forced himself through it so he and the family could escape outside. Looking back at the building as he ran, he was stunned to see it completely engulfed in flames. That’s when he looked down and realized he was severely wounded and bleeding profusely.

Gulnara flagged down a car and rushed him to the hospital, where doctors insisted on his immediate transfer to Tbilisi for urgent care. He remained in the capital’s hospital for the next month—but he was never, ever alone.

JDC had been helping the family for several years, giving them a monthly food card to supplement Nodar’s negligible pension and providing the family with relief during the harsh winters. Lika had gone to the local JDC-supported Jewish Sunday school and summer programs, and she and her mom participated in community activities during the high holidays.

While Nodar was at the hospital, JDC staff visited him regularly. “It was as if I was one of their family,” he recalls. JDC provided him with new glasses, dentures, and medicine to help him recover.

By the time Nodar and the family were ready to return to Gori, the government had helped to fix up their damaged home. But the house stood empty; all of their belongings had been destroyed. JDC bought new furniture and appliances, warm clothing, and food stock to help them begin a new life.

“Without the help of JDC, my family would not have survived,” Gulnara says.

Grateful for the outreach from JDC and the Jewish community, upon recovery Nodar joined his wife and began to visit the synagogue. He became one of their local Jewish community’s most active members and started observing Shabbat and other Jewish traditions at home. Their daughter Lika passed her exams and went to Jewish university in Tbilisi, where she majors in Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

The family says they will always be appreciative of all the help and generosity provided to them by the JDC. “Thank you to everyone who knows the value of kindness,” said Gulnara. “We will never forget the help that was given to us.”

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