Exodus from Kishinev, to the Promised Land https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/jewish-world/2022/04/exodus-from-kishinev-to-the-promised-land/

April 19, 2022 | Cole Aronson
About the author:

Last month, Cole Aronson traveled to the Moldovan capital of Chișinău—formerly known as Kishinev—with a group of Israeli volunteers helping the local Jewish community tend to the stream of Jewish refugees fleeing war-torn Ukraine. He describes his sweltering final day in the city’s airport:

Na’ama wants to pass out water to the refugees at the airport check-in line and asks me where the plastic cups are. I curse the guy who’s been running the kitchen for the last few weeks for forgetting something so basic and punish him by smoking what I promise will be the last cigarette (okay, the last Winston) of my life. I borrow a lighter from a Hatzalah medic and apologize for yelling when his group brought alien bread into the Irish pub we kashered for the staff and refugees.

Someone’s found plastic cups. I’m charged with one of the two-liter water bottles and give the last of it to a young girl on a mission for a thirsty friend. She’s studied Hebrew well enough in her Ukrainian school to get out the syntactically pristine, heavily accented sentences ubiquitous among the Israelis from Russian-speaking lands I’ve met. Her meek confidence and streaks of blonde hair remind me of my sister. . . .

We land in Tel Aviv five minutes after a hundred soon-to-be new Israelis start waving plastic flags of Zion. Greeting each passenger off the plane is my old pal David, the logistics chief for Hatzalah whose low-grade anxiety actually calms me down. At baggage claim, I give a bag of Israel’s best snack, chocolate-filled Bamba, to my water-bottle friend and wish her and her mother a good Passover and good luck in their new life. A Ukrainian woman who looks more Israeli than most Israelis thanks me in bad English and assures me that she knows where she’s going.

Thank God that Moses and Joshua did too.

Read more on Jewish Review of Books: https://jewishreviewofbooks.com/contemporary-israel/12297/exodus-from-kishinev/