As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to personally thank you for all that you do. For those of you who will be spending quality time with family, friends or neighbors during this holiday season, I hope that you take a few moments to reflect on those cherished relationships.
I know many of you also offer support during the holidays to those who are unable to be with their family or friends. Your support and efforts to help reduce their sense of isolation and loneliness are wonderful expressions of our core Jewish values.
On this holiday I thought I would share just one of the many stories of how we as a community band together to show compassion for those less fortunate. It's these expressions of caring that make me so thankful to be a part of this community. It shows the extent to which our partners help the elderly and Holocaust survivors who are facing increased challenges as they get older and more infirm. We are proud and grateful for the care our community offers, which is just one example of the type of collaboration that is so important to all of us at Federation.
"Holocaust survivors have led complex lives and they need complex care," explains Joan Margolis of Jewish Family Services (JFS), which offers support, therapy and companionship. Nearly three-quarters of the 120,000 Holocaust survivors currently living in the United States are over 75 years old. Many of them live alone. In Greater Hartford, nearly 40 percent of Holocaust survivors need help meeting their basic living costs and managing their expenses and complex health issues. Our partners provide outreach and support to this aging population.
JFS social workers help to coordinate care and other services, such as filling out paperwork specific to survivors that changes from year to year. Thanks to a long-time close relationship between Hebrew Health Care and JFS, staff often share knowledge and information on eldercare and the needs of specific patients.
At the Mandell JCC, the Cafe Europa program brings Holocaust survivors together to socialize and share a meal. Often, says Margolis, she will attend the monthly lunch to make announcements and check in on the clients she works with through JFS. All three Federation partners are located on the Zachs campus in West Hartford.
Nationally, Jewish Federations are also working in Washington to lobby for support of a bill called the Responding to the Urgent Needs of Survivors of the Holocaust (RUSH) Act. The bipartisan legislation prioritizes Holocaust survivors under the Older Americans Act so they can more easily obtain services they need. As a Federation, we are dedicated to providing lifelines of support and caring for the members of the Jewish community who lived through and have overcome one of the darkest chapters in our history.
On behalf of all of us at the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, I say Todah Rabah, thank you and extend our warmest wishes to you and your family for a wonderful holiday.
Interim President and CEO