Holocaust Survivors at Haifa Home know They are Not Alone
By: Yudit Setz, ICEJ Deputy AID Director
It has been more than a month since Israel faced the most horrific terror attack in its modern history, turning the usually joyous holiday of Simchat Torah into a frightening day of shock and mourning. The days that followed have seen sadness descend across the nation due to the magnitude of the attack, as well as resolve to overcome this crisis.
The news of this terror attack sent shock waves through the ICEJ’s Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors, as scenes reminiscent of the Nazi genocide against the Jews suddenly appeared live on their TV screens.
For some residents the fear became palpable, while others who had served in the army or police force in their younger days went into protective mode, ready to guard the home against any potential terror threat that might creep into the neighborhood.
The ICEJ team in Haifa immediately went from apartment to apartment checking on residents, ensuring they know what to do when the rocket siren sounds and showing them how to protect themselves.
“We have all kinds of instructions to follow, and our team has been checking on people, ensuring that they have an emergency bag ready, because one of the most important things for elderly people is to have their medication ready for an extended period,” shared Yudit Setz, director of the ICEJ staff at the Haifa Home.
Although the assisted-living Home has several bomb shelters, the layout of the community is such that most residents, when caught at home, will not be able to reach a shelter in time.
Therefore, different options have been investigated of underground shelters in the neighborhood where our residents could go for an extended period. We also have purchased a generator, plus emergency supplies, mattresses and other items for the residents in case the war escalates with Hezbollah in the North.
Fortunately, none of our Christian caregivers have left the country, as many were shaken and fearful hearing about the murder and kidnapping of friends who were working with the elderly close to the Gaza Strip.
We try to encourage the Holocaust Survivors under our care, and want to give them some practical tools for dealing with tense war situations.
Our ICEJ staff in Haifa recently took part in two different workshops – one giving practical first-aid instructions for times like these and the second on how to deal with trauma in your own life and how to help others. Both were very helpful and successful.
Meanwhile, despite the difficulties, life continues as much as possible with the same routine. Meals are enjoyed together; gymnastics and physiotherapy occur regularly; and residents receive daily visits.
“These are difficult and emotional days,” said Yudit. “Not only did the events of the 7th of October leave our residents in shock, but also the hatred of Jews and Israel that they see displayed in the media in its ugliest forms all over the West is sending them into despair and depression.”
Therefore, the message that sounded loud and clear in different events organized by the ICEJ team for the residents was: “You are not alone! Many Christians worldwide are standing with Israel in daily prayer and actions and above all the God of Israel is with His people and never slumbers nor sleeps.” This has greatly encouraged the people. One of our residents said: “It was the best gathering we had! It so helped me to distract my thoughts from all the difficult things going on and turn them to something positive and uplifting.”
Please keep the staff and residents of our Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors in your thoughts and prayers during this challenging time, and especially pray for divine protection over the Home.
We appreciate your continued support for the Haifa Home as we provide special care to these precious Survivors. If you would like to make a donation to support our work in caring for Holocaust Survivors, please go to: give.icej.org/urvivors
You can make a difference in the life of a Holocaust Survivor by supporting our Haifa Home.