A Little Russian And A Lot Of Love

Delightful aromas reached our nostrils as we entered an apartment where the hosts of a weekly Shalom Home gathering were preparing a meal for Holocaust Survivors. A 3-course dinner was cooking, the table was set with the attention of a banquet for royalty, and beautiful fresh flowers were arranged in vases down the table. Even a temporary rail was set up complete with coat hangers and the only thing missing was the guests. Soon, the door swung open and in walked 16 or so senior citizens. An excited buzz filled the room as coats were removed and places filled at the table.
Ready for a feast

We were honoured to have been invited to this Shalom Home and to have the opportunity to spend an evening with these special individuals. Each one had been a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust on the German-Russian front. They had been children during the time of the Nazi invasion of the USSR. As the Nazis implemented a plan of mass execution in Jewish villages, these children, sometimes with a parent, sometimes without, had escaped the German troops through various means and survived despite horrendous conditions, near starvation and freezing temperatures. Now in their 70s and 80s, they are living in a land far from their childhood memories, where learning a new language and seeking out a living have created their own stresses and difficulties. These Jewish pensioners look forward to these weekly times to sit and share with others who understand.

Karen & Amanda with Marta and Holocaust Survivors

Marta, one of the hosts, taught us some phrases in Russian so we could help serve the guests in their native language. She explained that before the Shalom Home gatherings existed, many of the Holocaust Survivors felt lonely and isolated. Now, these weekly gatherings are
the highlight of their week and give them hope and strength and encouragment. Sponsored by Helping Hand Coalition in collaboration with other Holocaust Survivor organisations, the 90 Shalom Homes scattered across the country meet together weekly to share a meal and have a good time together. It is an opportunity to check that everyone is doing ok and to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.

Karen singing a blessing in Hebrew
The Survivors invited us to share a little about ourselves, so we were able to encourage them and assure them that there were Christians around the world who hadn't forgotten them, who loved them and loved the Jewish people. At the end of the meal, Karen sang a blessing in Hebrew and one of the ladies shared a little about their stories and thanked us for coming to visit them.

Your People My People financially supports two Shalom Homes making it possible for Holocaust Survivors like these to come together, encourage and care for each other. If you would like to help us continue to support these Shalom Homes and more, please click the DONATE button and note that your gift is for Holocaust Survivors.