Haifa Home Prepares for War, Renovates Dining Room

By: Yudit Setz, ICEJ Deputy AID Director

Among the many activities of late at the ICEJ’s Home for Holocaust Survivors in Haifa—including renovations, birthday celebrations, and more—we have also worked to safeguard and prepare the residents in case the current war in Gaza escalates to the point of engulfing northern Israel in a major conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Preparing for the Possibility of War

Israeli leaders have warned that tens of thousands of Israelis evacuated from communities along the northern border may not be able to safely return to their homes unless the IDF goes into southern Lebanon to push the Hezbollah terror militia back from the border area. This would likely lead to a major escalation in the current war, with several thousand Hezbollah rockets fired into northern Israel every day.

ICEJ Haifa Home bomb shelter
Haifa Home bomb shelter being equipped in case of war in the North.

In response, the ICEJ has taken several steps to better prepare our Haifa Home to protect the elderly Holocaust Survivors who reside there. First, we have arranged with the city of Haifa and the electric company to provide a large backup generator that can supply power for the entire block where most of the residents live in case of a power failure. We have organized a large safe room off the dining hall to allow quick access during meals and community meetings. We have also purchased and stored away food and emergency items to take care of the residents if no one can go outside.

In addition, we have placed a bomb shelter near the main gathering place at the Home and equipped a large underground shelter at a public school across the street to house the residents should Haifa come under heavy rocket barrages. Finally, we have donated a new ambulance to serve Holocaust Survivors at the Home and other Survivors throughout the Haifa region.

We pray that the conflict will not widen, as the residents of the Haifa Home have already seen enough wars and suffering in their lives. But we must be prepared, just in case.

Remembering Moshe Bar Haim


Moshe Bar Haim, a resident of the Haifa Home, was born in Romania and lived happily with his family as a child. But his life drastically changed during World War II when the family was forced into hiding. After a long time of fear of getting caught, the Jewish family was finally discovered by German forces, who separated them and sent them to different camps. There Moshe witnessed unimaginable horrors and faced traumas, hardships, and heartache that would mark him for life.

Miraculously, the family survived the war and was liberated by the Russian army, and Moshe soon sailed for Mandatory Palestine. But on the way, the ship was stopped by British forces, and Moshe was brought to Cyprus, where he and other Jewish war refugees were put into detention camps yet again. Eventually, Moshe arrived in Israel, where he studied agriculture, was drafted as a soldier, and ultimately became a teacher. He then moved to America, where he discovered his talent as a chef and restaurateur, running a thriving restaurant with his wife.

Sadly, Moshe’s life was once again touched by grief when he lost his wife after 46 years, followed later by the loss of his youngest daughter. In his later years, back in Israel, Moshe needed a supportive environment, which he found at the Haifa Home until he passed on January 30, 2024, at the age of 90. His departure has left a void among his family and friends and the entire community at the Haifa Home.


Yaacov Celebrates 100th Birthday

Haifa Home resident Yaacov H. just reached the remarkable age of 100, joining two other centenarians with Polish roots at the Home! The dedicated care of our amazing 24/7 caregivers and the activities and love offered at the Home all contribute to the longevity of our residents. The Haifa Home continues to be a place of warmth and joy that inspires our residents and team. Thank you for allowing us to celebrate these milestones with these precious Holocaust Survivors!

Renovated Dining Room Reopens

We are always keen to make the shared public spaces at our Haifa Home more beautiful, homey, and inviting for our residents. So we embarked on a major renovation of the community dining hall, which involved modernizing the kitchen and adding a special corner for all the dairy products—plus an industrial dishwasher.

The renovation plans were done by an interior designer from the Caucasus region named Maya, who made Aliyah last year. She is an engineer, but interior design is in her heart. For us to give a new Jewish immigrant their first project in the country was an added blessing in this renovation.

“This is my first project in Israel. I put my heart and soul into it to bring some joy to the Holocaust Survivors, who suffered so much,” said Maya. “I hope that when they enter the room, it will give them a warm and joyful feeling and add some positive things in their life.” Maya is joyful and energetic, and she gave her whole self to the project, putting in long hours alongside the local construction workers.


Then, after a month of tough work by a carefully selected group of wonderful professional builders, we finally hosted a festive and joyous reopening in mid-February. The residents beamed with joy! The dining room is not just where residents enjoy their daily meals, but it provides a feeling of community. There, residents enjoy a sense of belonging as they gather to see one another, talk—and so much more. It also is where most of the main community gatherings, such as concerts and group visits, are held.

With beautiful music from a violin and pan flute, delicious delicacies, and a festive meal, the dining hall was officially reopened. The room was packed! Most residents and their caregivers who came were delighted to be together and enjoy the new look and feel.

“Wow, it is so beautiful and homey! It is like sitting in a very nice restaurant,” said one resident, and many others agreed. They were also eager to thank all their generous Christian friends worldwide who made this revamped dining hall possible.

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