Holocaust Survivors and ICEJ’s Care!

By Laurina Driesse, Published on 10/11/2023

It has been more than a month since Israel faced the most horrific terror attack in its modern history, turning the usually joyous holiday of Simchat Torah into a frightening day of shock and mourning. The days that followed have seen sadness descend across the nation due to the magnitude of the attack, as well as resolve to overcome this crisis.

The news of this terror attack sent shock waves through the ICEJ’s Haifa Home for Holocaust survivors, as scenes reminiscent of the Nazi genocide against the Jews suddenly appeared live on their TV screens.
For some residents the fear became palpable, while others who had served in the army or police force in their younger days went into protective mode, ready to guard the home against any potential terror threat that might creep into the neighbourhood.

The ICEJ team in Haifa immediately went from apartment to apartment checking on residents, ensuring they know what to do when the rocket siren sounds and showing them how to protect themselves. Yudit Setz, Director of ICEJ staff at Haifa Home, explained how they try to encourage the Holocaust survivors by giving them some practical tools for dealing with tense war situations. She said, “We have all kinds of instructions to follow, and our team has been checking on people, ensuring that they have an emergency bag ready, because one of the most important things for elderly people is to have their medication ready for an extended period.”

Bomb Shelters
Although the assisted-living Home has several bomb shelters, the layout of the community is such that most residents, when caught at home, will not be able to reach a shelter in time. Therefore, different options have been investigated of underground shelters in the neighbourhood where our residents could go for an extended period. “We have also purchased a generator, plus emergency supplies, mattresses and other items for the residents in case the war escalates with Hezbollah in the North,” shared Yudit.

Brave Caregivers
In spite of being shaken and fearful hearing about the murder and kidnapping of friends who were working with the elderly close to the Gaza Strip, the Christian caregivers of frail residents did not leave the country. With the ICEJ Team, they recently took part in a workshop that gave practical first-aid instructions for times like these. Another workshop was on how to deal with trauma in your own life and how to help others. Both were very helpful and successful.

Life goes on
Meanwhile, despite the difficulties, life continues as much as possible with the same routine. Meals are enjoyed together; gymnastics and physiotherapy occur regularly; and residents receive daily visits. Events to entertain and encourage have also been organised. A resident said of one, “It was the best gathering we had! It so helped me to distract my thoughts from all the difficult things going on and turn them to something positive and uplifting.”

“These are difficult and emotional days,” said Yudit. “Not only did the events of the 7th of October leave our residents in shock, but also the hatred of Jews and Israel that they see displayed in the media in its ugliest forms all over the West is sending them into despair and depression.”

Therefore, the message that sounded loud and clear in different events organized by the ICEJ team for the residents was: “You are not alone! Many Christians worldwide are standing with Israel in daily prayer and actions and above all the God of Israel is with His people and never slumbers nor sleeps.” This has greatly encouraged the people.

Please keep the staff and residents of our Haifa Home for Holocaust survivors in your thoughts and prayers during this challenging time, and especially pray for divine protection over the Home.

We appreciate your continued support for the Haifa Home as we provide special care to these precious survivors. If you would like to make a donation to support our work in caring for Holocaust survivors, please go to: icej.org.au/donate

Photos courtesy of ICEJ International.

Share this post

Feast of Tabernacles 2024

Expressions of Interest

Please enter your details below to register your interest for our Australian Feast of Tabernacles 2024 Tour. We will be in touch when registrations are open.