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Much Happening

An update from the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors

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Posted on: 
7 Aug 2019 (All day)
Much Happening

To be honest, there is always something happening at the ICEJ’s Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors! This is what makes it so difficult to share all of the amazing events that occur. So, here’s a taste of the many activities going on at the Haifa Home.

The Joy of Good Food

Hunger is something every Jewish Survivor experienced during the Holocaust. Many still live with the fear of going without food. This is one reason it is so important to provide nutritious meals for the Home’s residents. The dining hall brings the community together over tasty food and makes everyone feel like family. In June, we welcomed a talented young cook to the community kitchen. He not only gave the kitchen a new look but also cooks the most colorful and delicious meals to the delight of the residents. A group of young enthusiastic employees from the Strauss Group recently prepared a healthy brunch for our residents. The presentation of the food was beautiful. While enjoying the delicious and healthy food, the residents received a lecture about healthy eating. Our residents love food and enjoy a good meal. It was such a joyful time of fellowship.

Adopt a Survivor

The ICEJ’s Adopt a Survivor Program provides a steady source of monthly income to meet the Home’s ongoing needs. Though this financial support is greatly needed, the adoption program offers so much more. Special relationships have been established between resident Survivors and their adoptive Christian families through letters, cards, and sometimes presents adopters send by post or even bring in person.

Mania, a Survivor of the Transnistria concentration camps, was deeply touched by the lovely letter and gifts she received from one of her Finnish adopters. An elated Mania said, “Isn’t this beautiful? Look at the colors. Look how it suits me!” It is not only the gifts or words that make the residents happy but the knowledge that someone abroad thinks of them and has not forgotten them.  

  ICEJ: Adopt a Holocaust Survivor   

Becoming a Voice for Israel

Not one month passes at the Haifa Home without hosting groups from different parts of the world who are donors or related to the ICEJ. In the 90 minutes that they are with us, they are able to meet one of the residents and if possible hear his/her story, visit the on-site museum which is a small but powerful representation of the lives of our residents during the Holocaust, and sense the special connection of Jews and Christians in this home. Groups often leave with tears in their eyes and exchange many hugs and kisses with the residents. Not only do the residents feel heard and not forgotten, but groups are challenged to be a voice for Israel and to be active in the battle against the growing tide of Anti-Semitism.

Sharing the Past to Make a Better Tomorrow

So far this year, 20 ICEJ-linked groups have visited the Haifa Home. Some nations represented were Taiwan, Canada, United States, Norway, Netherlands, Finland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Faroe Islands, England, Switzerland, and Germany. When possible, the groups hear from Holocaust Survivors themselves, but we also recognize it is difficult for Survivors to share their horrific story over and over again. This is why each group gets to go through a unique on-site museum that displays many of the personal stories of the Home’s residents. This allows the Survivors to share their stories with visitors without having to relive those atrocious memories time after time.

Once visitors hear about and see some of these tragic moments from the past, they can better understand residents’ deep wounds and minister to their hearts with compassion and grace.

A Breath of Fresh Air for Residents

One of the best ways to forget the daily aches and pains that come with getting older is to have a little fun! Recently, a new van was donated that gives the residents, including those in wheelchairs, the opportunity to go on leisurely outings around Haifa. One day, we took the residents to a nice restaurant at the beach where they enjoyed not only a refreshing drink but also each other’s company. With the many physical restrictions that come with old age, it’s a breath of fresh air for residents to go out for an adventure around town. 

Getting Ready for New Arrivals

Our “out of the ordinary Home” presents different challenges with residents’ age and physical restrictions. Some people who came healthy, independent, and mobile, are now in need of a caretaker or unable to climb the stairs anymore. In the coming months, some residents will make a move to an apartment on the ground floor, which also makes room for new residents to move in upstairs.

With the help of volunteers from the United Kingdom plus Israeli staff, two new apartments being remodeled in one of our buildings are almost ready to receive their new residents. 

Celebrating the Feasts

The Haifa Home is intentional about celebrating all of the biblical Feasts. The most recent Jewish holiday we celebrated was the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot or Pentecost. This Feast is also called the Feast of the Giving of the Torah. According to Jewish tradition, God gave the Law to the people of Israel at Sinai on this specific date. We celebrated at the Haifa Home with a special gathering for the residents, which included explanations of the Feast and Jewish traditions that have been added throughout history. We also enjoyed a delicious meal and cheesecake for dessert, which is the traditional food for this holiday. The atmosphere was joyful and festive, and it gave residents another opportunity to rejoice and come together as a family!

A Time to Dance

Every Wednesday night at the Haifa Home you’ll find residents gathered in the dining hall for an evening of music and dancing. It’s a special time for the residents, staff, and volunteers to bond together over some great music and awesome dance moves. Because dance and music are important in Israeli culture, this weekly event is popular with many of the residents. It fills our Survivors with joy and brings back memories of good times. They dance together and alone. Genia, even at 94, is often the first to start dancing!

“Everything hurts, but when I dance I feel young again. It reminds me of the good times and gives me joy,” Genia said.

Not everyone is physically able to dance, but that doesn’t stop residents from coming to enjoy the music and watch others dance. It’s such a special weekly event that people and soldiers from the community often join in on the dance party!

“It’s an evening they look forward to. On Tuesday, they are already asking us if we will come to dance,” noted Tamaris, the Haifa Home’s longest-serving volunteer.

The Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors is in need of finances to provide the best care for its residents and to handle general upkeep of the Home. Send your most generous gift today, and impact the lives of Holocaust Survivors while you can!


Support Survivors living at the Haifa Home.

 

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