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Homebound Israeli Holocaust survivor visits beach for first time in years

“You have not only taken care of my health all this time, but today, I truly feel like I have been reborn,” said Mina Kozlanko.

From left: Volunteer Oksana Standik-Segel and Lauren Chedva Shatrit, coordinator of the Ten Kavod (“Giving Honor”) project Heval Sorek chapter, with Mina Kozlanko at the beach in Ashdod. Credit: United Hatzalah.
From left: Volunteer Oksana Standik-Segel and Lauren Chedva Shatrit, coordinator of the Ten Kavod (“Giving Honor”) project Heval Sorek chapter, with Mina Kozlanko at the beach in Ashdod. Credit: United Hatzalah.

The Ten Kavod (“Giving Honor”) project of United Hatzalah made a dream come true for 81-year-old Holocaust survivor Mina Kozlanko, a resident of the town of Bnei Ayish, who is homebound due to illness.

Kozlanko often told Oksana Standik-Segel—the volunteer who has been visiting her for the past eight months—that she longed to see the ocean. Last week, she got the chance.

And so Standik-Segel and other volunteers from the Hevel Sorek branch brought her to the beach in Ashdod. They transported the octogenarian via ambulance and provided continuous medical supervision for the duration of the excursion.

From left: Oksana Standik-Segel and Mina Kozlanko, accompanied by a United Hatzalah worker, walk the promenade next to the beach in Ashdod. Credit: United Hatzalah.

Kozlanko, who hadn’t been on an outing since before the COVID-19 pandemic, said: “You have not only taken care of my health all this time, but today, I truly feel like I have been reborn. I am at a loss for words to thank you.”

Mina was born in Moldova and moved to Russia with her family at the beginning of World War II. Then a small child, she lost her mother and brothers in the Holocaust; she survived by living in an attic throughout the war.

Standik-Segel said “like so many other senior citizens, Mina has always been averse to feeling like she is a burden on others. Building a deeper connection beyond just medical check-ups took us time and effort.

“But as our bond grew stronger over time, she finally felt comfortable opening up to me. She shared her longing to see the sea, even though she hasn’t left her house in more than three years. Through our genuine relationship and the kindheartedness of the volunteers of the organization, we were able to make her dream come true.”

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