Fayina was born in the historical Russian city of Orsha (now in Belarus) in 1920. Ten years later the family moved to Moscow, some 300 miles away. Fayina passed her final school exams with flying colours, enabling her to study chemistry at Moscow State University without having to do an entrance exam.
The invasion by the Nazis in 1941 interrupted her studies, and caused the family to flee to another region, Penza, 400 miles south of Moscow. Her mother managed to get a job there as a health worker in a kindergarten.
In 1944 Fayina was able to return to Moscow State University and resume her studies. After she graduated, she worked in the Moscow Chemical Technology Institute, which later became the All-Union Scientific Research Institute for Antibiotics (that is a literal translation from the Russian and it is as grand as it sounds!).
Love blossomed when Fayina met Boris, a student of the First Medical Institute. They married in 1949. Stalin was continuing his persecution of the Jews, and in 1953 Fayina found herself without a job when she and all other Jews were fired from the Institute where she worked.
Desperate to find work, she went to Moscow and spent 19 days trudging round the city, but no-one would employ her. However, as a result of Stalin’s death in the March she was offered her job back. She was also paid compensation for the period of forced absence.
Fayina and Boris had one son. We have no information on Fayina’s life for the next 30 years. Her son emigrated to Israel with his family in 1990, and two years later he invited his parents to join him in Israel.
Fayina’s husband passed away, and then her son’s marriage failed. Having a good relationship with her ex-daughter-in-law, Fayina remained living with her and the grandchildren.
When her ex-daughter-in-law met someone new, this made the living situation untenable. Life became difficult for Fayina. She was desperate to find somewhere else to live.
She heard about Beit Haverim and called Valentina frequently in the hope of getting a room with us. Finally at the end of the year we had a room for her. She was delighted! She was 87 years old.
We were Fayina’s only hope. Isaiah 58:7 says: “Is this not the fast that I have chosen... that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out?”
Valentina consistently encouraged Fayina to look on the bright side, to be positive and see her cup as half full, not half empty. We often commented how Fayina looked younger and younger each year, as she blossomed in the company of the other residents.
She loved participating in the various events, and always joined in the singing on a Friday evening as they celebrated Shabbat.
She rarely left the house, but one year she decided she would go with Valentina to vote in the election for the Mayor of Beit Shemesh. She was so excited to do her part!
For the last two years of her life she had a live-in carer. It was unfortunate that this lady, who came on a work visa from Uzbekistan, did not have the personal skills to relate to Fayina.
Loneliness and isolation was a huge issue for Fayina, but our staff, her relatives and former carers tried to fill the gap, spending time with her and doing things with and for her.
She would come alive when she had the opportunity to show us (trustees and board members) her photograph albums! She took great delight in telling us about each photograph.
In March 2020 Fayina celebrated her 100th Birthday!
It was a shame that the pandemic had hit and only a few people could attend her birthday party.
As Fayina’s health continued to fail, she was admitted to hospital in August, but died soon afterwards.
Fayina declared she was an atheist.
She found it hard to believe that the God of Israel loved her - she told us on several occasions that God wasn’t there for her when she needed Him in the past.
However, she very much loved and appreciated her home, Beit Haverim.
She just needed that revelation that indeed God was there for her in her hour of need.
Our prayers for her were always for the Lord to reveal Himself to her.
He brought her to us, and I am sure he completed His work in her at that last moment.