Helping Holocaust Survivors through War
By: Yudit Setz, ICEJ Deputy AID Director
War is still going on in Israel, but it has been reasonably quiet here in Haifa. However, life is not the same after October 7. The uncertainty of what will happen, the emotional roller-coaster with the release of only some of the hostages, the daily news of fallen soldiers, and the continuing preparation for all possible scenarios of this war in the North keeps everyone busy and tense.
ICEJ organized different workshops for our team and caregivers of the residents. The workshops were about first aid in times of war and how to deal with trauma. The interactive workshops were very helpful and fun at the same time.
Fitness room opened!
A fitness room was opened next to our physiotherapy room. With a lot of thought and creativity Simcha, our physiotherapist, created beautiful surroundings with equipment that encourages our elderly residents to remain active and mobile. Even residents who are almost 100 years old or older are enjoying the experience, which is good for their body but also a joy to their souls.
Therapy Through Art
Many of our residents have traumas, and their lives have not been easy. Nancy, an art therapist, comes once a week and does art therapy with individual people that are homebound and with little groups. We started with a group activity for our residents from Ukraine, making Hanukkiah’s for the feast of Hanukkah. At the same time, we shared with them about the history and meaning of this holiday, as many of them do not have a religious background. During Hanukkah they lit the candles in their self-made Hanukkiah at their homes. What a joy that brings light in their homes and gives them even more a sense of belonging in their new homeland!
Israeli Arab Children Visiting the Haifa Home
A group of Israeli Arab children at risk (7 to 9 years old) visited the Home accompanied by the staff of the program they are part of and some of the parents, to bring presents to the residents. The staff had prepared them beforehand and had shared about the Holocaust. Even though almost all of them are from a Muslim background, they came dressed like Father Christmas, sang Jingle Bells in Arabic, and gave presents to the residents. We had prepared pages from a coloring book and colored pencils, so together with the residents, the children had much fun coloring. The love that was exchanged was precious to behold. The children had such a good time, and the residents just loved them. It was just one wonderful example of coexistence in our city Haifa, where Jews and Arabs live in peace together, a true light amid so much darkness today.
A Great Help in Time of Trouble
Ruth, a short-term volunteer from Germany, came amid all the tension of war in Israel to support our ICEJ team. We are short on manpower at this time, and Ruth’s loving heart, her skill set, and languages—German, English, and Russian—made her a great blessing to us and the residents. Thank you Ruth!
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