• By Yechiel Gurfein

Even for a second, I wouldn’t have ever dreamed that I would celebrate my 25th birthday on the border of a country at war, and I couldn’t have imagined that I would find myself helping thousands of refugees who fled their homes bringing nothing with them. Now, on the 28th day of the Jewish month of Adar Aleph, that has become my reality.

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Yechiel helping the Ukranian refugees

I have been planning this day for a long time and the big party I would throw to celebrate it. Today is a special day, not only because it’s my birthday, but also because this day only happens every few years, on a leap year. As my plans formulated in my mind last week, everything changed.


As soon as United Hatzalah asked me to join the first Israeli humanitarian aid delegation to put boots on the ground at the Moldova-Ukrainian border in order to help the refugees fleeing the war, I did not hesitate for a moment and immediately left with them. It’s a good thing I did because we didn’t have a moment to hesitate. Thousands of people need our help. 


Now that I’m here, I must admit that there is no better way to celebrate my birthday, than by being part of this amazing delegation with my fellow United Hatzalah volunteers, all of whom are truly amazing people and inspire me each and every day. Being given the opportunity to do something as meaningful as helping refugees who were left destitute, some even leaving their families behind, is the best birthday present. There is no greater celebration than to do an act of kindness and to give wholeheartedly on a birthday.


I would like to end with a birthday wish; may we be privileged to live in peace and forever be on the side of giving.


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