Mark and Tamara

"We prayed everyday for Yad LaKashish to reopen during the closure."

Mark and Tamara did not let the threat of Coronavirus stop them from returning to Yad LaKashish, even at over 90 years old.

For the first time in their 30 years of coming to Yad LaKashish, they were forced to stay at home, isolated and lonely. With the workshops closed and the city in lockdown due to Corona, Mark says they felt trapped. It was extremely difficult for them. Mark and Tamara prayed every day for Yad LaKashish to re-open. 

“I feel needed here. I have worked all my life and it is unnatural for me to sit at home.” 

The couple, who moved to Israel in their 60s, heard about Yad LaKashish just one year after they made Aliyah. Since 1993, Mark has been a member of the Silk-Painting Workshop and Tamara the Textiles Workshop.  

Overcoming challenges and adversity is not new to Tamara and Mark. Tamara learned at 11 years old that one has to adapt to survive. Plowing fields with her father to feed the family during WWII, they faced bold antisemitism from Russian farmers.

When Mark was just 14, the Nazis invaded Minsk and Jews were confined to a ghetto. Kidnapping, beating and murder were commonplace. Determined to resist, Mark and his friends joined the partisans.

In 1953, fresh out of medical school, Mark was deported to Polotsk. It happened to be at the same time Tamara, who had just graduated with a journalism degree, was also sent to work in Polotsk. The couple met and fell in love. “In 1959 we managed to return to Minsk and Mark began post graduate studies at the Faculty of Medicine, completing a Phd in biochemistry.”

The Soviet Union promoted virulent anti-semitism through the 70’s & 80’s, making it almost impossible for Mark and Tamara to find work in their fields. 
In 1992, when the doors opened for Soviet Jews, they fled to Israel seeking security and stability.

“Even with all our education we need government welfare to live. The monthly financial support from Yad LaKashish makes it possible to live with dignity. Yad LaKashish also challenges us to learn new things, to remain active and be useful.  Tamara embroiders and I paint. Who knew we had these talents?”

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