Supporting Holocaust survivors in times of war

On the morning of October 7, Zikaron BaSalon recognised that Holocaust survivors in Israel were re-experiencing their trauma amidst the onset of war, images emerging from the south, and the rockets firing from Gaza.

In response, Zikaron BaSalon established an emergency call centre and mobilised local volunteer community to proactively reach out to all survivors in their database. Given the state of the country, they aimed to ensure that every need of the survivors was addressed. This ranged from providing hot meals, grocery shopping, water, and other essential items to arranging for medication, repairing the safe rooms of survivors, offering emotional support, or simply engaging in friendly conversations.

Collaborating with volunteer communities across Israel together with handyman services, shops, and restaurants, Zikaron BaSalon attended to every request from survivors. Alongside the call centre operations, they initiated a program of sending small gifts and challah to survivors on several Fridays, fostering a personal connection with volunteers.

Recognising that many survivors were initially fearful of leaving their homes, this initiative allowed them to visit them and ensure their well-being. During the first few days of the war, many people compared October 7th to the Holocaust. Zikaron BaSalon soon realised the power of survivors and our collective ability to learn about their experiences and draw strength from them. As a result, they arranged for survivors to meet with the children who were evacuated from the kibbutzim in Zikaron BaSalon settings, which provided comfort for all involved. Through these efforts, they aimed to instil a sense of hope and resilience in the participants.

The project’s primary objective was to ensure the well-being of Holocaust survivors by addressing their immediate needs and providing support during times of crisis. This involved arranging for essential supplies, repairs and emotional support, which was facilitated through the mobilisation of our volunteer community across Israel.

In addition, the project aimed to inspire hope and resilience within the wider community by harnessing the power, strength, and resilience of Holocaust survivors. This was achieved through sharing survivors’ stories and experiences on social media platforms and during Zikaron BaSalon gatherings. By highlighting the survivors’ ability to endure and overcome adversity, the project aimed to instil a sense of optimism and solidarity among the general public. The methodology involved close collaboration with our volunteer community and local businesses.

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