HELPING HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS IN ISRAEL
A thriving ministry to Holocaust Survivors was birthed by Andre and Bozena Gasiorowski when they witnessed first hand, the financial struggles of Holocaust Survivors in Israel today. Determined to do something about it they set up Helping Hand Coalition (HHC) to assist with financial aid and also to combat the effects of isolation and loneliness. The organisation has now been running for many years and Survivors have been blessed by the immense love and care that HHC expresses in all its different projects.
One of HHC’s projects is Shalom Homes where a group of Holocaust Survivors are bussed to a place to receive not only a good meal but one that is beautifully presented with excellence in stunning surroundings. The Survivors are treated like royalty. After the meal there is always cultural entertainment (music, dance, art, or a short film) and often an opportunity for everyone to get up and dance. The hospitality shown is incredible and the point, to make the Survivors feel special, loved and honoured, works. You just have to see the smiles on the faces as they leave and their steps just seems a little lighter. Some of the worries of the world have for a moment been lifted from their shoulders and they are very grateful.
In September, 40 Holocaust Survivors from the town of Hadera welcomed the Jewish New Year together at the HHC Villa in Caesarea. They were gathered by the Association of Ghetto and Concentration Camps Survivors and hosted by staff and volunteers of Helping Hand Coalition.
Andre and Bozena warmly greeted all the guests, extending their sincere wishes for a delightful celebration and the coming New Year. Pastor Victor and Julia Blum delivered a meaningful address, explaining the significance of the festivity and setting the tone for the day’s festivities. A delegation of Friends of Israel from China and a famous Chinese singer, Esther Ha Hui, attended the event adding a touch of international flair to the proceedings. HHC often welcomes groups from overseas to come and bless the Holocaust Survivors showing them that there are those around the world that care.
A delicious celebratory lunch was served and a pianist from Hadera provided the musical backdrop, playing traditional New Year songs in Hebrew and Russian. The power of music and song ignited a joyful spirit, prompting survivors to join in, clap, and dance. The room was filled with togetherness, the warmth of shared meals, and pure happiness.
The Survivors left with a beautiful memory and expressed how they can’t wait to be invited again for such a special time.
More then ever, during these times of war, the Survivors need these moments of light in the growing darkness.
A group of 20 Holocaust Survivors from the city of Netanya visited the HHC villa in November on the 28th day of war and it was a much-needed time for sharing encouragement and praying for peace. Many of the participants in the event have loved ones that were called up to serve in the army.
A fantastic dinner was served, Shabbat candles were lit and blessings recited for the wine and bread. A local Pastor shared from the Jewish lectionary, the portion of the week “Vaera,” speaking about Abraham, who left a great example of faith for us by trusting God in extremely difficult times. It was counted to him as righteousness. He explained the scriptures speaking about the ancestors of Abraham in such a way that it started to unfold and shine for many of the listeners for the first time. His wife, a writer, and teacher, shared about the story of Joseph and the ability to love God and thank Him even in very challenging situations. The talk was so full of hope, the listeners responded with all their hearts. A video clip was shown of the testimony of one of the Massacre survivors from October 7th. She shared her miraculous story of being saved by God during the horrific attack on the kibbutz near Gaza by Hamas terrorists. The leader of the Netanya Holocaust Survivors’ group, also shared her heart with the participants of the Shalom House, offering words of support and gratitude.
A group from Germany were attending and shared how it was their desire to come to Israel especially during this time of war to bless the people in words and actions. They had delivered three massive truckloads of aid from Germany and Poland for people in need during the war. This news that Christians from Germany and Poland loved them is very healing for Holocaust Survivors whose experience had obviously been very different during the Second World War.
At the end of the evening, after a beautiful piano recital, Tatiana, one of the Survivors shared that she had she had felt depressed on her way to the Shalom House and even at the beginning of the event. But after praying, hearing the uplifting messages and enjoying the music, she went home encouraged and strengthened, along with everyone present at the meeting.
Another participant shared their heart and thanked the meeting hosts for bringing all the participants together and giving them a chance to encourage one another. He mentioned that these meetings bring joy and colour to the lives of the Holocaust survivors, as the Shalom Home gatherings created an atmosphere that everyone wanted to take home.
In December, a group of Holocaust Survivors from Or Akiva enjoyed a special Hanukkah Shalom Home that included traditional Hanukkah doughnuts and the lighting of the second Hanukkah candle. A message was shared from the Bible and there was beautiful songs and music as well as prayers for peace and protection.
SUPPORT HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS