Holocaust Survivors find connection through JFCS programs

Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) continues to hold monthly programs that engage our community’s Holocaust Survivors. At the Love Café Europa Program’s Chanukah celebration, the room was full of smiles, laughter, good conversations, and great people. The Holocaust Survivor clients, their family members, JFCS staff, and volunteers came together to celebrate the holiday with a live musical performance. Rabbi Nathan Weiner joined the group to light the menorah and thank the Survivors for sharing their stories and their life journeys. As a special treat, fifth grade students from Politz Day School joined the celebration. The Survivors had huge smiles on their faces as they interacted with the children. They danced together, ate latkes and jelly donuts, and had a wonderful time. Special thanks go to all of the JFCS staff and volunteers who helped out and continue to be so dedicated to our community’s Survivors. 

Meanwhile, the Former Soviet Union (FSU) Holocaust Survivors enjoyed a Russian-language presentation by Katerina Romanenko about Marc Chagall and Israel.  Katerina covered a brief history of Chagall’s long career, touching on his biography and his Jewish background.  The group examined the characteristics of Chagall’s unique style in the context of 20th- Century artistic development.  Finally,, Katerina discussed Chagall’s relationship with Israel, focusing on his travel and the artworks he created there, including twelve stained glass windows for the synagogue of Hadassah Hospital and the tapestries and mosaics for the Knesset building.  The clients were captivated and enjoyed sharing their own photos and stories from when they saw Chagall’s work in Israel. In addition to the all-time high attendance on Zoom, many other clients enjoyed watching the recording. The FSU clients love learning about art and Katerina is a fan favorite! 

The Vineland Hope & Healing Holocaust Survivors enjoyed a fabulous luncheon in late November. The room was filled with conversation as everyone caught up with one another and several JFCS staff members who traveled to Vineland for the occasion. In a beautiful and meaningful gesture, the new owners of Beth Israel Congregation, who are not Jewish, took it upon themselves to decorate the room with blue and white tablecloths in honor of Israel. The clients and their companions had an opportunity to look through new books to take home; the winter months can be isolating and reading is a great distraction. 

To learn more about JFCS programs for Holocaust Survivors, click HERE.