On June 4, Jews across the globe celebrated Holocaust Survivor Day, a day that honors the bravery and sacrifice of the survivors in our communities. Nearly 250 survivors now live in the state of Connecticut — with 156 in Greater Hartford alone.
Although Holocaust Survivor Day offers an annual opportunity to celebrate these extraordinary men and women, our obligation to the survivor community continues throughout the year. To that end, the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford (JFGH) and Jewish Family Services (JFS) have fostered a longstanding partnership to ensure survivors’ basic needs are met, including medical and dental care, emergency home care, meals, rent, and utility support. However, as the survivor population ages, their needs increase.
Earlier this year, JFGH and JFS entered into a formal agreement with KAVOD SHEF, a national initiative who, with their partnering organization, Seed the Dream Foundation, works with local Jewish agencies to ensure that survivors throughout the United States are able to live stable and dignified lives.
As outlined in the agreement, KAVOD SHEF pledges to match up to $17,500 in local donations for Holocaust survivors. The combined funds, a potential total of $35,000, will assist in meeting this population’s medical and living expenses in Connecticut — and the need could not be more critical. According to KAVOD SHEF, more than one in every three Holocaust survivors in the United States live at or near the poverty line, forcing many to choose between heat, food, or medicine. Through KAVOD SHEF’s efforts, and the funds raised by the Greater Hartford Jewish community, we can together provide our local survivors with the peace of mind and quality of life they deserve.
“KAVOD SHEF funding has changed the way we interact with Holocaust survivors,” said Miriam Brander, chief operating officer of Jewish Family Services. “This, coupled with support from Federation, allows us to approach conversations with clients with an abundance mindset rather than scarcity, truly exploring their needs and knowing that we have the backing to support them.”
Federation’s efforts in supporting our local survivors is a reflection of Jewish Federation of North America’s (JFNA) broader commitment to survivors. A recent article in “The Washington Post” highlighted JFNA’s nationwide work with its Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma, a person-centered, trauma-informed program for Holocaust survivors and other adults with a history of trauma. The “Post” also acknowledged JFNA’s ongoing advocacy for federal funding to meet the needs of survivors, including for the nationally administered Holocaust Survivors Assistance Program (HSAP).
To make a donation that will be matched by KAVOD SHEF for the emergency needs of Holocaust survivors, please reach out to Elisabeth Kostin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860.236.1927.