October 27, 2023

Dear JFCS Family,

I have immense gratitude for all of you and your support. It has been such a difficult time for our community. While we say we are stronger together, there is no better proof than what has transpired over the last several weeks. Today, the South Jersey Jewish Community set up a Shabbat Table for the Hostages who were Kidnapped by Hamas. If you are driving by our Katz JCC, you’ll see the table and the display. What a powerful message for our community!

We know that displaced Israeli families are now arriving in our South Jersey community. If you know someone who needs support, please send them our way. It has been our mission to be responsive not only to the needs in Israel but also to those who are here suffering with the anxiety, pain, and loss. The trauma caused by this act, combined with the explosion of anti-Semitism in our local schools, colleges nation-wide, and around the world, has caused a ripple effect that harkens back to a history that we know so well. Now more than ever, we need to lean on each other for strength and survival. They say, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. I look to our clients and our community for strength. Our team of social workers in our Holocaust Survivor Services and Advocacy Department partnered with our Survivors to write the following letter.

Please take solace that none of us are alone in this world. We will stand together and overcome whatever may come our way.

Wishing you peace and love this Shabbat,



A Letter To Our Israeli Soldiers

We are a group of Holocaust survivors who live in South Jersey. There is important information we wish to pass on to you in this time of tragedy and horror. We are horrified by Hamas’ brutal and inhumane attack on innocent civilians in Israel. We cry for their families and our Homeland Israel. We cry for Jews everywhere. We are witnessing our second Holocaust.

You do not need to pray for strength. You do not need to work to achieve a strong heart or a strong will. You especially do not need to ask for courage. You already have these attributes. They were placed in you while you were still in your mothers’ wombs. Your mothers and fathers received them before they were born. They have been passed on from generation to generation of Jewish people and will forever be passed on. You have already passed these on to your children and grandchildren.

Our ancestors, from over 5,000 years ago, survived 40 years in the desert before they reached Eretz Israel. They fought hostile people who tried to kill us even back then. In every generation someone has tried to destroy us, but they did not succeed. We survived and thrived. We survived the modern-day Haman and the Nazis along with their collaborators. We survived the Communist rule. Your ancestors survived the ancient Greeks, Babylonians, Inquisition, expulsions from country to country and many pogroms.

After the Shoah, so many of us lost everything, but created our own futures, and the futures of our children and grandchildren by using our brains, our “Yiddishe Kopf.” We learned how to adapt to a new country, language, customs, and neighbors. Our courage, stamina, and will to live helped to overcome all obstacles that were placed in our way so we viewed them as mere “steppingstones.”

Our will to survive cannot be learned. It is inborn, and it is in you and everyone worldwide fighting for Israel. You did not have to work for it or to earn it as it is part of your Jewish heritage, and it is thousands of years old. It is in your genetic code, and the rest of the world is always amazed when they see the evidence of this tremendous intelligence and strength, but we are not. Because we know who we are, where we came from, and what we are capable of overcoming.

We, who have lived through impossible times and seen evil throughout our years, want you to recognize how special you are. We believe in you and know that you will triumph against Hamas and their collaborators. We have already done it and you will too. Am Yisrael Chai!

With our love, support, and prayers. May Hashem watch over you and keep you safe!


Ruth, Survivor of Austria

Joel, Survivor of Germany, Theresienstadt Concentration Camp

Nella, Survivor of Poland as a Hidden Child

Diana, Survivor of Ukraine

Inge, Survivor of Germany

Izrail, Survivor of Leningrad Siege, Russia

Ludmila, Survivor of Russia

Galina, Survivor of Belarus

Lev, Survivor of Russia

Rabbi Yaakov Jungreis, Survivor of Hungary, Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp

Inna, Survivor of Russia

Florence, Survivor of Poland

Fred, Survivor of Holland, Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp

Rachel, Survivor of Germany

Fred, Survivor of Germany

Vigdor, Survivor of Ukraine

Naum, Survivor of Ukraine

Raisa, Survivor of Ukraine

Genia, Survivor of Poland

Sarah, Survivor of Poland

Izzy, Survivor of Poland, Concentration Camp

Claire, Survivor of Germany

Henry, Survivor of Poland, as a Hidden Child

Jane, Survivor of Germany, Shanghai

Louis, Survivor of Poland

Elizabeth, Survivor of Czechoslovakia, Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp

Kurt, Survivor of Germany

And all the Holocaust Survivors in our South Jersey community