LeChaim – To Life
Embracing Holocaust Survivors in Israel
with practical assistance and intergenerational meetings
LeChaim’s slogan is “To life, for life!” We believe that Holocaust survivors should live their last years in comfort and with respect, surrounded by warmth and friendship. We aim to remove their feelings of worthlessness, of being cast aside, while giving our youth, our future leaders, the opportunity to be inspired by them.
Today, there are estimated to be about 80,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel, many in conditions of great poverty. This figure represents 30% of all (global) living survivors, most of whom are aged between 75 to 95 years old. Many of them do not know where to turn for help and assistance, so their needs go unheard or ignored. Many live alone, with no family to turn to for companionship and aid.
Yet in our program, the people we work with are all called ‘Holocaust winners’ - to honor the battle they have indeed won and their contribution to Israel. Surviving a camp or ghetto and then resettling in the Promised Land of Israel are remarkable feats no short of a miracle. They have fought for our independence and fought again in subsequent wars. They have helped build our new homeland and since 1948 have continued to contribute to make Israel what it is today! They deserve our utmost respect for their heroism.
“LeChaim has been helping these special people out of love and passion, and every interaction is very personal,” says LeChaim director Daniel Braun.
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Empowering Survivors-Empowering Youth.Every school year, we recruit dozens of highly motivated young people who make weekly visits at the survivors’ homes. Recognizing the awesome task that these young men and woman are undertaking, they are provided with guidance, supervision and support. The outcome is a rare mutual connection and empowerment that continues even beyond the visits. The survivors are the hosts while the young and highly motivated young guests bring them some food, a smile and most of all a lasting family-like friendship. During a visit, our volunteers may offer practical assistance in the home and garden, such as weeding or painting. Working side-by-side on home improvements increases feelings of companionship and ensures that the seniors feel that they are in control of their own homes. The young volunteers are inspired for the lives still ahead of them.
Safe Home Environments.Some of the survivors we visit exist on a small state-given pension. Without bureaucracy or delay, we provide immediate financial assistance for paying water, gas and electricity bills. In addition, we try to ensure that all our seniors have adequate heat in the winter and air cooling systems for the hot summer months. As many elderly people die from hypothermia in the winter and dehydration in the summer, this is a lifesaving mission.
Endurance - Connecting Wounded Soldiers and Holocaust Survivors.Wounded IDF soldiers, disillusioned and fatigued from slow recuperation, are able to move forward and restore faith in themselves by helping others. LeChaim’s program pairs wounded soldiers with Holocaust survivors. They develop a singular bond and are mutually empowered by sharing their experiences and endurance.
How can you be part of this program?
LeChaim spends on average $200 per month for each Holocaust survivor.
You can help by becoming part of the growing LeChaim family in Israel by giving a monthly donation to finance this program.
LeChaim is a registered nationwide organization, established in 2002 and operating in six cities around Israel, including Jerusalem. Our volunteers are mainly from post-high school army preparatory programs, with a group from the Scouts in Jerusalem.
LeChaim is a small organization. All funding is from donations and we have no government support. We do not have offices and keep overhead and operating costs to a minimum, so that every donation really makes a difference to the Holocaust survivors and impacts the lives of our amazing young volunteers.