Holocaust Survivors at ICEJ’s Haifa Home receive Rosh HaShana surprisesPublished on: 18.9.2023
By: ICEJ Staff Writers
As Israel entered the High Holidays, beginning with Rosh HaShana this past weekend, many people were rushing around to purchase necessities for their traditional festive meals. During this special time of year, it was an extra joy for the ICEJ to partner with local Arab Christians to remember and bless Holocaust survivors at the holiday season.
Israeli Arab pastor Saleem Shalash and his church in Nazareth were once again wanting to show love and concern to their Jewish neighbors during the fall holidays. They were especially keen to reach out to Holocaust survivors, so the Christian Embassy partnered with this Christian Arab congregation to make that happen at Rosh HaShana. In the week leading up to the holiday, the church team eagerly prepared 110 holiday gift parcels and set out to visit and distribute them on the eve of Rosh HaShana to Holocaust survivors in Nof HaGalil and the residents of the ICEJ’s assisted-living home for survivors in Haifa.
The Holocaust survivors were so grateful for the visit and their gifts.
“Saleem Salash came with his wife and some members of their church to wish our residents ‘Shana Tovah’ – a happy and blessed New Year”, explained Yudit Setz, ICEJ’s director of Holocaust projects. “They had prepared beautiful holiday packages with toiletries, a towel and a jar of honey and cakes, and the meeting with the residents was very warm and touching.”
“I grew up hating the Jewish people, but God changed my heart, and we love you”, Saleem shared with the survivors. “We will do everything in our power so that what happened to you, will not happen again.”
“As we embarked on this journey of compassion and solidarity, we were filled with anticipation and a deep sense of responsibility to support these remarkable individuals who have endured unimaginable hardships”, Saleem recounted. “Upon arriving at the home, we were greeted with warmth, resilience, and an unmistakable spirit of hope. The conversations we shared with the survivors were poignant and humbling. Each story was a testament to their strength and determination and vividly depicted the unfathomable struggles they faced during one of history’s darkest periods. Their courage in rebuilding their lives and forging ahead despite immense tragedy left us in awe.”
“It was evident that our presence brought immense joy and comfort to these lovely people”, he confided. “The smiles that adorned their faces and their gratitude touched our souls.”
“Looking back on our visit to the Haifa Home, we are reminded of the profound responsibility we have to ensure that the stories and experiences of Holocaust survivors are never forgotten”, Saleem added.
Yudit noted that the visit also touched the Holocaust survivors very deeply and they urged Saleem and his church team to, “Please come and visit us again!”
The ICEJ wishes these dear Holocaust survivors “k’tiva v’chatima tova” – a year of health and happiness!
Through your support, the ICEJ continues to extend love and care to Holocaust survivors at the Haifa Home and through similar projects. Please continue to support the amazing work being done at the ICEJ Home for Holocaust survivors. Donate today at: give.icej.org/survivors