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Kindergarten kids perform to survivors Photo: Avraham Venismach
Kindergarten kids perform to survivors Photo: Avraham Venismach
 
 

Youth bring hope to Holocaust survivors

Religious pre-military academy students adopt and care for lonely survivors as part of special program in north. Relationship gives old, forgotten survivors 'a reason to keep on living'

Ynetnews
Published: 06.24.09, 12:01 / Israel Activism

Every other week the boys studying at Mechinat Keshset Yehuda, a religious pre-military academy in the Golan Heights visit the homes of Holocaust survivors in the area and bring money, food, medicine and medical supplies. The boys also clean and fix up the survivors’ homes and, most importantly, help relieve the painful loneliness by sitting and listening to the survivor.

 

Mechinat Keshet Yehuda has been working together with The L’Chaim Organization for the last four years in a special project that seeks out and helps Holocausts survivors that were simply forgotten about, who live in subhuman conditions and are, most of all, very lonely.

 

The goal of this special program is to allow the survivors to live out the rest of their lives in dignity by adopting them.


Students visit survivor (Photo: Gabi Peled)

 

The L’Chaim Organization seeks out the survivors, raises the money and then organizes the care.

 

The care comes in the form the young men that attend the academy. It’s part of their S.T.A.R Leadership Program (S.T.A.R. stands for Social Tolerance And Responsibility.)

 

“We found survivors living in conditions you wouldn’t believe; some sitting in their own urine and vomit. Their homes are barely livable. Even with all this, the most unbearable thing for the survivor is their loneliness…they have been forgotten, it’s a real shame to us all,” said L’Chaim’s Co-Founder and Organizer Daniel Braun.

 

One of the Survivors who recently passed away, said to Daniel: “I am not going to die in ripe old age; I am going to die with a lot of suffering and loneliness, and especially anger, for all these years that nobody paid attention to me – like I don't exist. Only you Daniel and the wonderful students from Keshet Yehuda and your donors with a big heart – were the light in my life in the last few months, and gave me a reason to keep on living”

 

Hope and inspiration  

The impact this program has on the students is very powerful. “I believe that when we go to visit the survivors, we not only help the people there in need, we are helping ourselves as well. When we see people who suffered so much in their lifetime and still indeed have hope, it gives us hope and inspiration, too.

 

"There are simply no words to describe the feeling of seeing the smile and joy that we bring these people. It shows us adolescents who are a year away from military service that there is something worth fighting for," remarked one of the students.

 

Another student was affected so much that he decided to make aliyah to Israel. “The woman, who I go and visit, really changed my life. When I come to visit her, she constantly reminds me that Israel depends on us, the young people who are willing to make a difference, and she has really been one of the main reasons why I am doing aliyah," he said.

 

Last week, some 50 survivors were brought to Mechinat Keshet Yehuda to enjoy a day in the beautiful and peaceful Golan Heights, courtesy of Mechinat Keshet Yehuda and The L’Chaim Organization. A few days before the survivors arrived, the kids of the local Kindergarten learned about holocaust survivors and prepared a show for them.

 

The show was a huge success: smiles and laughter were on all faces young and old.

 

Those interested in learning more about the Mechinat Keshet Yehuda and L’Chaim Organization Holocaust Survivors Program can contact av@keshetyehuda.org or visit www.lchaimtolife.org

 

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