By: Yudit Setz

The ICEJ’s Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors has seen a lot of changes and expansion since we first started it in 2010. A few modest apartments grew to a large project with apartments in a dozen buildings spread over several streets, plus a community dining hall, museum, and activity center. 
We are excited about the latest expansion of our Haifa Home. Renovation of the first and second floors of the newest ICEJ building is close to completion. It will be used for residents who need more care and have a live-in caregiver. Some current residents will be moved there soon and new residents added, while other new residents will fill the older vacated apartments. There will be new faces to welcome, each with personal stories of how they survived the

Holocaust. Here is one… 

‘My Mom was so happy here’ 

Bluma enjoys a moment with ICEJ volunteer Debora

Bluma (her name means “flower” in Polish) moved into the Haifa Home over a year ago, coming from a nearby fourth-floor flat without an elevator. Due to difficulty in walking and health issues, she was no longer able to go outdoors. Her family, who all live abroad, had looked for other options, but nothing worked out. That is, until Bluma decided to move to the Haifa Home, which she had walked past many times. She was so happy to be part of the Haifa Home family. 
As a young girl, Bluma started first grade one week before the German invasion of her native Poland. Her family was quickly forced into the Lodz ghetto but were able to escape to Russia, where they drifted around from place to place and experienced hunger, beatings, bombardments, and labour camps. More than three hundred members of her wider family perished back in Poland. But she made it through the war and afterwards moved to Israel, where she learned to design and make clothing like her father – a tailor. 
Late in life, Bluma remained very independent and was still sewing clothes despite her failing eyesight. But she also had to start relying on others to care for her and had come to love the attention given to her by our staff. 
Recently, Bluma’s health deteriorated quickly and she passed away on the 8th of November. Her daughter, who had been with her in those last weeks of her life, said: “My Mom was so happy here in the Home and loved you all so much.” It was a privilege for us to have known one more of our survivor heroes. 

ICEJ Team 

The ICEJ’s Haifa team

Our Haifa team currently consists of five Christians who have all been here more than a year, with Natalia our nurse now starting her third year. It has been such a joy to work with these dedicated, talented, and wonderful people. 
Kerstin, a German staffer who came via Worldwide Volunteers, is always happy to help wherever needed and is a ray of sunshine for everyone who meets her. This past summer, she started her second year with us and said:” It’s so beautiful to see how the relationship with the residents has grown and has become so close. It gives me the feeling that I am here for a reason and really needed.” 
Natalia added: “There is nothing better than to share my life with my survivor family! We go together through joyful and difficult things. We laugh and cry together. So many times, I am at the right place at the right time to help with an urgent need and there is nothing that gives me more joy.” 

Happy birthday to Sofie

Fellow Haifa Home resident Rita (left) congratulates Sofie on her birthday.

Sofie has been in the Haifa Home almost from the beginning ten years ago. This week she turned 93. That was a good reason for a party, which was held in our activity center. With a nice cake and a small group of residents, it was a great time of celebration and joy amid the Corona restrictions. Sofie was overjoyed with the attention and love she received. 
Thanks to everyone who has supported the Haifa Home over the past decade. The work we do there is touching precious lives every day, and more residents will soon be added as we complete our latest expansion. Please consider a generous donation to support our ministry and care for these deserving Holocaust survivors. 

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