Safe Room Construction, and Other War Preparations at Haifa Home

The ICEJ is currently constructing a safe room and making other war preparations in our newest apartment building at the Home for Holocaust Survivors in Haifa. Seven of the elderly Jews evacuated from the Ukraine war last year are now living in the building, and we want them to feel protected from the threat of Hezbollah to northern Israel.

Even though the work to turn a spare room into a safe place is a little loud and dusty at times, resident Natalia came especially to say thanks. “I do not mind the noise and dust because I am so grateful that you are caring for our safety,” she said. “It makes me feel much more secure in these very tense times.”

Sixteen of the current residents at the Haifa Home came to Israel after fleeing the war in Ukraine, and we are taking every measure to ease their minds about the war they now find themselves in.

Passover in Haifa


Every year we prepare Pesach (Passover) packages for Holocaust Survivors in the Haifa area who are in need and still live alone. Besides matzah (unleavened bread) and other traditional Passover fare, some extra food items were added to this year’s packages just in case of emergencies. Groups from high-tech companies, the Maccabi Haifa soccer team, high school classes, and IDF soldiers came to help pack parcels for a few hours each. Our Christian Embassy staff at the Haifa Home had the joy of lending a hand to fill Passover gift packages too.

Despite the constant threat of war from the North, life goes on. In art therapy, the residents talked about the story of Passover. The Survivors enjoyed painting their impressions of the Exodus from Egypt in a celebratory atmosphere topped with different kinds of tea and music. We plan to hold an exhibition of all their work and invite their families and friends for the display.


One Holocaust Survivor’s Story

Manya, a long-time resident of the Haifa Home at age 91, spends time behind her computer daily. Besides writing a poem about whatever happened that day, she adds a drawing with it. Manya, a seasoned artist, taught herself to draw on the computer during the coronavirus.

Manya shared a recent poem about the dark Sabbath October 7 massacre, translated from

A Glance at “The Black Shabbat”

Rage painted Shabbat black,
not by paint, but by blood.
My thoughts wandered afar,
as if my eyes could see all
the outcome, wanting to cry out.
Emotion overflows.
The heart responds,
grief, it wails.
The soul awakes,
the sights
brought back memories
from the distant past.
Then, the comparisons start.

Bringing Comfort and Strength

Recently, the ICEJ has brought several Christian solidarity groups to visit the Haifa Home. The sight of tourists from abroad in this time of war is so encouraging and strengthening for our residents and Israeli staff. Israel feels so alone in this difficult war, where there is still no end in sight. The fact that Christians from all over the world show their solidarity and support means the world to them.

Tobi and Debora Schabel, a couple from Darmstadt, Germany, had taken a holiday from their work to help Israeli farmers. They also visited the Haifa Home to encourage the residents and staff. They came bearing gift boxes with special flowers that do not need water, bars of lavender soap, and a beautiful card, which they distributed to residents, staff, and caregivers. Afterward, they wrote us about their impressions from the visit.


“The personal en-counters with the Survivors themselves and the loving relationships that the team maintains with the residents of the facility were moving,” they shared. “The entire atmosphere in the Haifa Home is characterized by appreciation, affection, and trust. We were very happy to get to know different residents personally and to communicate in different languages and with our hands and feet.

“We were able to celebrate the birthday of a Ukrainian resident who has been living in the Home for two years,” the Schabel’s continued. “And we had a long conversation with a resident who was born in Germany about the current situation of increasing antisemitism, especially back in Germany.

“Two of the residents we visited had written down their stories and had them published in German. How special it was to have met them in person and be able to read their story while at the Home.”

During lunch in the dining room, the couple met many other residents and staff and passed along greetings and gifts from their families and friends in Germany.

During this time of war, such small signs of solidarity and encouragement were received with surprisingly great appreciation and at the end of the day, the couple said goodbye extremely encouraged and blessed.

The Schabels concluded: “The work of the Haifa Home is a great blessing, and we greatly value the ministry that the staff and volunteers here provide to the Holocaust Survivors on behalf of many Christians in Germany and around the world every day. Thank you so much!”

—by Yudit Setz, ICEJ Deputy AID Director

Make a difference in the life of a Holocaust Survivor by supporting the Haifa Home.