Haifa Home: A Strong Start to the New Year 2020Published on: 29.4.2020
Remembering the past and giving hope for the future
By: Yudit Setz
At the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors, it is our great privilege to not only remember those lost in the Holocaust but to provide daily care for elderly survivors, giving them hope and a future!
With a team of six wonderful long-term volunteers along with intermittent short-term volunteers, our residents are in great hands. These faithful volunteers continually provide love, care, and specific skills which benefit the health and well-being of the residents. They also provide small repairs making the survivor’s homes even more accessible and safe to live in. And last, but definitely not least, there are always moments in the daily routine to stop and enjoy a cup of coffee along with lovely conversations that fill the hearts of both the survivors and the volunteers.
International Holocaust Memorial Day
Thousands of Holocaust Survivors, their families, soldiers, police, and Maccabi Haifa soccer team amongst many others, crowded the small street in front of the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors. Over 500 people, including dignitaries from the Haifa municipality, Rabbis, MKs, and Ambassadors of multiple nations came from all over the country to attend the ceremony.
ICEJ’s VP & Senior Int. Spokesman David Parsons touched the hearts of many with his words:
“As I stand here today, I can assure you there are millions of Christians around the world who remember the horrors of the Holocaust. They also remember with deep regret the long, tragic legacy of Christian antisemitism. And we say to both: ‘Never again!’”
Many words have been spoken at different ceremonies in Israel and around the world this year, remembering the Holocaust exactly 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz. However, nothing speaks louder to Israel than our daily care and love for those who have survived and are still among us!
Living Life to the Fullest
With thousands of supporters, our residents at the Haifa Home had the opportunity to kick off a very important soccer game and basketball game. Thousands of fans attended each game, and both were aired live on national TV. Afterward, the survivors were invited to watch part of the game in the VIP section of the stadium.
The survivors thrive on attention, honor, and respect, especially after a life of suffering and hard work to build up this nation. Opportunities like these motivate them to get up every morning and have a purpose in this life. Many of the residents are in their 90’s and still going strong, and we believe it is because of the love, support, and honor they have been shown in these latter years of their lives.
Music, balm for the soul.
The residents at the Haifa Home enjoy music; they even have a weekly dance party to enjoy listening to and moving to the music. Recently, a Christian organization from Denmark, Gideon’s Army, donated a brand new Camac Hermine Harp with 34 strings to the Haifa Home. On the day the harp was delivered, a concert was given by Olga, a professional harpist with the Philharmonic Orchestra in Haifa. The beautiful, delicate sounds of the strings touched many hearts. Olga promised to come with her students and perform a concert for our residents once a month. We also invite anyone who knows how to play the harp well to come to our Home and give a concert for our residents.
The Facts & Figures*:
Let’s take a look at the facts to get a better picture of the Holocaust Survivors living in Israel today.
· There are still 193,800 Holocaust Survivors living in Israel.
· The age range for Holocaust Survivors is 74 to over 100 years old, and 15% are over 90 years old.
· 1/3 were born between 1939-1945, and are now 74 – 80 years old
· 60% are women & 40% are men
· 64% were born in Europe (36% from the former Soviet-Union)
· 16% were born in Morocco
· 11% were born in Iraq and witnessed the Farhud in 1941
· 2% were born in Algeria
· 37% immigrated to Israel before 1951
· There are 24,000 married couples that both partners are Holocaust Survivors
· There are 13,600 Survivors living in Haifa
*These statistics were taken from the Central Bureau of Statistics on the occasion of the International Holocaust Memorial Day (27th of January 2020), and are based on the number of Holocaust Survivors alive from December 2019.
Passing On & Making A Difference:
As the years go by, our residents are slowly aging, and many are passing on. Another one of our long-term residents passed away this January. Leah Levi, who moved to the Home with her husband nine years ago, both survivors from Romania, succumbed to cancer and has left another empty space in the Home and in our hearts. We recognize now more than ever that time is running out for us to impact Holocaust survivors. Therefore, we invite you to partner with the ICEJ in continuing to provide the best care and love to Holocaust survivors in Israel today!