As a teenager during World War II, Aza and her mother fled to Central Asia after the Nazis invaded her native Ukraine and her father was killed on the front lines. Even when it was considered safe enough to return, mother and daughter stayed away. With their hometown destroyed, they had nothing to go back to. Instead, they settled in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, now caught in the crosshairs of a country in crisis.
"I'd never been to Israel before, I'm 58 years old now, I was 57 when I went. I said to myself, 'I'm long overdue', I really want to go. I may or may not go after this, but I really want to go", recalled Steve Renas, a retired forensic economist professor from Wright State University, with a PHD in forensic economy from Georgia State University. Steve and Aileen Adams visited Israel for the first time this past fall, and became connected to the region in a way he'd never thought he would.