A Modern Day Journey to Freedom

Written by: Iris Vinokur, KSLC Auxiliary Co-President

This Passover, as we retell the story of the flight of the Jewish people from Egypt, we must not forget the thousands of refugees from around the world who are currently fleeing countries where oppression, intimidation, and even death are a part of their daily lives. For most of us, we have not had to experience a life where every day struggles mean the difference between freedom and imprisonment; between life and death. This concept is foreign to most of us.

For a member of the Wilmington community, the flight to freedom is a reality.

Vlad Cerbov, the Community Relations Manager for Jewish Family Services of Delaware, was born in Kishinev, Moldova.  The Republic of Moldova is a small country in Eastern Europe wedged between Romania and Ukraine.

Vlad, who was working for an American non-profit in Moldova, became the target of constant harassment and threats by his government because of being Jewish, gay, and working for an American government agency. He eventually decided to leave Moldova and seek asylum in the United States. His journey first brought him to California, then to Philadelphia and finally to Delaware where he accepted a job with JFS.

Vlad, who has a master’s degree in Social Work and Public Assistance from the Free International University of Moldova and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, is now enrolled in a master’s in social work program at Yeshiva University.

In Moldova, he represented the international nonprofit agency Medical Teams International for three years in the capacity of Country Director.  He also served for two years as the Chief Party for Counterpart International Inc.  During his tenure at MTI and Counterpart, he successfully launched a community health projects in two villages, engaged over 40 local volunteers, 100 American volunteer teams pertaining to medical and humanitarian projects.

At JFS, Vlad has been instrumental in helping to settle Ukrainian refugees here in Delaware along with refugees from many other countries.  He works to secure services and to find volunteers to work with those who have left their homelands to seek a better life in America.  Being a refugee himself, Vlad understands the difficulties of adjusting to a new life in a foreign country. Vlad shared that he loves Delaware and feels at home here.  He likes the quietness of Delaware as opposed to a big city.

Vlad will be the featured speaker at this year’s Kutz Senior Living Campus Donor Luncheon on May 3, 2023 where he will share his incredible story. Proceeds from this event will help support the residents of Kutz Rehabilitation & Nursing and Lodge Lane Assisted Living and Memory Care. RSVP by April 17. Click here to register.