Once Upon a Time in Uzbekistan – A Modern Journey of Jewish Emigration

New Jersey Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Monmouth County Helps Rebuild a Life for a Woman and Her Family
July 21, 2008 - PRLog -- Galina Ubogiy of Ocean Township, NJ  feels as though her life would have taken a different path had she not have had the support of the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Monmouth County who sponsored her family from Uzbekistan sixteen years ago. Her powerful story is an inspiration to us all. It is the journey of one family searching for a peaceful life - to live the American Dream - by shedding the reticent ways of the ‘Old World’, and pursuing their dreams of living an openly as proud Jews in the ‘New World’. For many years it was Galina’s dream to leave the country and look for better life for her family. But at that time it was impossible to make it happen. This dream became even more vital once she had her son, and life threatening situations in the area happened more often.

Galina shares her personal voyage to America as she becomes a proud Jewish woman, wife, mother and accomplished business owner.

Galina Ubogiy was born in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, one of the republics of former USSR, in the family of a Linguistics Professor and a Mechanical Engineer. Uzbekistan had a large Jewish community for nearly 2,000 years. Living under a Soviet regime was difficult, being denied the right to practice their religion openly. The only Judaism they experienced in Tashkent was hearing memories and tales of celebration and traditions told by their grandparents who also spoke Yiddish.

Through turbulent and challenging times in her homeland, Galina managed to perform at the top of her class in her academics and graduated from Tashkent University with a BS in Civil Engineering, in 1998. It was here that she met the love of her life, Arkadiy, a Mechanical Engineer, where after a short courtship, were soon married.

In 1990, she and her husband made a difficult decision to leave the city where they were born and their immediate family remains. After a two year struggle, and all documents approved by both their homeland of Uzbekistan and the United States, Galina and her husband were allowed entrance and citizenship to the United States under refugee status. Part of the conditions of leaving their homeland was the limit of only two suitcases for their journey to their new life in the U.S.A.

In 1992, Galina, her husband and their six year old son Michael arrived to America and settled in Ocean Township, New Jersey, sponsored by Jewish Family and Children Services. Arriving during a recession, and having to adjust to a new and often times strange new land, the Jewish Family and Children’s Services offered housing and furniture along with English lessons to help them assimilate to their new lives.

Once they arrived in New Jersey, Galina was accepted into the Masters Program at Rutgers University. However, at this time, Galina wanted to pursue a more creative and exciting career in the field of Architecture and Design, and established her new goal.

Being pregnant with her second child, Jessica, Galina worked by doing drafting work for the design firms and working in design showrooms. During this time, Galina applied and interviewed at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), in New York City. This quintessential working mom was accepted into the prestigious two year program and successfully graduated two years later with degree in Fine Arts.

It took several years, with the continued efforts of JFCS, for Galina to reunite with her mother, father and brother and allowed them to meet for the first time the family’s newest member and first rightful citizen of the United States, Galina’s daughter Jessica, making this a truly beautiful and remarkable reunion.

Galina honed her skills by working with some of the areas top professionals in the field of architectural design, and was instrumental in taking design concepts and seeing them to fruition in some exciting and memorable projects. Taking her experience and background, she pursued the American Dream and in 2001, Galina became founder and principal of Galina Design Group. Within the next few years, she has designed and implemented many of the areas most beautiful new additions to the community, such as Deal Yeshiva and the Axelrod Performing Arts Theater at the JCC.

Today, Galina and her family are members of Temple Beth Torah, in Ocean Township, where they are able to practice Judaism and pray openly. Her children can experience freedom of choice by being Jewish without persecution and realize that they can grow and become whatever their hearts desire. Both Galina’s children had bar and bat mitzvahs surrounded by family and friends. Now the children are proud US citizens and express the desires to travel back to their roots.

Back home in Tashkent, Galina and her husband had a civil wedding as they were deprived of having a traditional Jewish wedding. It is both Galina’s and her husband’s desire to celebrate a milestone anniversary and proudly exchange vows under a traditional Chuppah, with their children by their side.

Galina embraces her power to learn and incorporates her education from her parents and grandparents and additional learning experiences to aid in her day to day success.  Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Monmouth County has brought her so much happiness to her family dynamic and gave her the chance to rebuild a new life in America.   The Ubogiy family will always be grateful and will continue to support the extraordinary efforts of JFCS.

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