Something to get your teeth into...

Finding herself in terrible pain and hardly able to eat, Holocaust Survivor Rosa was overwhelmed with joy when she received dental treatment through a project run by Helping Hand Coalition (HHC). She was so excited to share that she can now eat an apple with ease!

Many Holocaust Survivors living in Israel are unable to afford vital dental treatment but HHC’s dental project is bringing relief and hope to many.

Earlier this year, HHC brought together 20 Survivors from the town of Or Akiva who had received dental treatment to enjoy an afternoon of sharing stories, music and companionship.  The Survivors were eager to show off their new teeth and dentures and to tell their stories to the HHC staff.

A wonderful music concert was followed by a short ‘Food for Thought’ from a local leader who shared how history, geography and archaeology have proved the accuracy of the Bible. He encouraged everyone to read the Bible for themselves and discover the wisdom within its pages.

Rosa, a sweet and high-spirited survivor, asked if she could share a few words before everyone moved on to lunch. Rosa spoke about her time in the Jewish ghetto during the war and how she had come to Israel. She went on to share how she was barely able to eat before she participated in the Dental Treatment Project, hoping to find relief. Excitedly, she shared that after getting the work she’d desperately needed, she could now eat an apple with ease! Speaking on behalf of all the survivors in the room, she exclaimed their gratefulness to Helping Hand Coalition and its partners for establishing the Dental Treatment Project, along with all the other projects that take place throughout the year.

Lunch was served by amazing HHC volunteers who prepare the food with such love and endeavour to make sure each elderly survivors feels really blessed.  Chatter filled the house and people got to know one another on a deeper level. As people ate and talked, the musicians played more songs and elevated the mood to cloud nine. There wasn’t a person sitting alone, all their loneliness was washed away and when the camera came near, most asked for their picture to be taken.

Just before the coach arrived, hand-made artwork was presented to the survivors as a gift. Crafted by Israeli artist Grace Alon, the pictures were inspired by passages found in the Bible and designed through Grace’s love of traditional Jewish art and papercutting. Each survivor had a choice between a picture of a menorah or the Aaronic blessing. The menorah piece symbolized the light that shines in the darkness, inspired by the scripture found in Isaiah 60:1-2, “Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you, and His glory appears over you.” Cut in blue and pale gold, this artwork was a perfect reminder of God’s promise of hope to His chosen people, and that they would shine the light of God’s glory to the world.

The participants also received a gift box of jams made by a local kibbutz.

“It was uplifting to see the impact and results the Dental Treatment Project has had on the lives of the survivors,” shared HHC, “Your heart swells with joy and indescribable feelings when you witness the gratitude shining in the survivors’ eyes. They thought they were forgotten, but Helping Hand Coalition has shown the survivors that through its projects and events, they have a platform to let their voices be heard and meet people from around the world who wish to befriend and care for them. HHC is determined to continue bringing aid to those who need it and look forward to meeting more survivors and making new friends at the next event.”