In September 1994, 4-year old Robert Gluach was brought to Israel from the former USSR by his mother, Irena, and his grandparents, Galina and Benjamin Ravitz. Since his parents' divorce, when Robert was just a baby, he has had no contact with his father.

All three generations made their home together in Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv and began the long and difficult process of "being absorbed" in Israel - adjusting to their new home, new culture, new language.

In January 1995, just a few months after arriving in their new country, Irena was diagnosed as having cancer. The fatal disease took its toll quickly and within a month, Robert was orphaned. Robert's elderly grandparents were his only living family, and they undertook to raise him.

Aging and alone, heartbroken from the loss of their only child, they decided to move to Ariel, where they had some friends. It would not be easy for them to raise such a young child at their age and they hoped that in Ariel, they would find the emotional support they would need in the difficult years ahead.

Shosh Levavi, head of Ariel's Social Services Department, encouraged them. "In Ariel, we try to meet individual needs. This is a community that really cares," explains Levavi, "and therefore, the Ravitz's will find it easier to raise Robert here. We will help them cope with their current tragedy."

Robert's grandparents are doing their best to give him a good home. Friends and neighbors have given them old furniture and basic appliances. Galina Ravitz, almost 65 years old, is investing all her time and effort to meet Robert's daily needs. Benjamin Ravitz is 70 years old. He is now trying to learn Hebrew so that he can find work that will allow him to provide all the things a growing child needs.

The Ravitz's are warm people and dedicated grandparents. Robert could not be in more loving hands. But their burdens are great. As they try to adjust to Robert
Gluach the death of their only daughter, they must adapt themselves to their new homeland. Their only income is their monthly old-age pension check -- some $400 -- and they are having great difficulty making ends meet.

Robert will begin kindergarten in September and the family expenses will only increase. We want to help the Ravitz's and pull them above the poverty line. But in order to do so, they need twice the income they have today.

We are turning to you for help. Won't you become an "adoptive family" to Robert and his grandparents? Your commitment of only $36 a month can make all the difference.

Help Galina and Benjamin raise their young grandson, Robert. Celebrate holidays, birthdays and special occasions with them. Become a friend of the family and help Robert grow up to be a healthy, productive citizen of Israel.

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