By John Monahan, Boston 25 News
April 06, 2022 at 11:02 pm EDT
NEEDHAM, Mass. — Mordechai Golditch and his father fled persecution in Ukraine in 1910. They arrived in the U.S. and were welcomed in Chelsea to start a new life.

“My grandfather is the same refugee you see today who had to flee Kiev when he was 6 years old,” said Melanie Kelfer who is founded the aid group called Operation Mordechai.

More than a hundred years later his granddaughter Melanie Kelfer from Needham is returning that favor.

“If it were not the kindness and generosity of complete strangers I would not be here today,” said Kelfer.

Tragic images from warn torn Ukraine tugged at her heart.

“War broke out and I just could not stay silent.”

So Melanie started Operation Mordechai named after her grandfather to aid refugees fleeing for their lives. “To help bring medical supplies and essentials to the help the refugees and the doctors and paramedics on the ground who are treating these wounded sick and traumatized refugees,” said Kelfer.

Melanie is working around the clock to raise money and collect donations. “To help the refugees rebuild their lives out of the rubble they’ve been left with,” she said.

And she compares the atrocities now exposed in Ukraine with the holocaust.

“All of a sudden it’s as if history is repeating itself,” she said.

Operation Mordechai’s goal is to help every refugee possible.

“This mission is not just for Jewish people. We are bringing and shipping these supplies and essentials for everyone,” said Kelfer.

Melanie has lined up a charter flight to ship supplies, then that plane will transport Jewish refugees who want to go on to Israel.

“I will be bringing these young mothers and children, the most vulnerable over for resettlement in Israel,” she said.

Her work honors her Ukrainian grandfather by helping a new generation of refugees.

“It’s unimaginable what these people are living every minute of every day,” said Kelfer.

Kelfer also plans to go over to Europe at the end of the month. And she hopes to repeat these missions to help as many people as she can. If you’d like to donate, you can do so at the following link: Operation Mordechai .