JFSLA Celebrates Holocaust Survivor Appreciation Day
On June 1st, JFSLA hosted a special appreciation luncheon to celebrate and honor survivors of the Holocaust, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, KAVOD SHEF, and Seed the Dream Foundation. Members of Café Europa, JFSLA’s social group for survivors of the Holocaust, enjoyed a kosher lunch and live entertainment at the JFS Valley Storefront Community Resource Center.
“We want survivors to know they are important to our community,” said Heather Angel-Collin, JFSLA Director of Survivors of the Holocaust and Valley Storefront Community Resource Center. “Survivors are part of history. They are the fabric of the Jewish community. It’s important to acknowledge who they are, their experiences, and let them know that we care and support them.”
More than 35 survivors attended the luncheon and interacted with volunteers, staff members, representatives from partner agencies, and young adults from NuRoots, a young leadership group at the Federation. The room was filled with conversation, and some young adults even danced with survivors.
“This remarkable, multi-generational event offered a unique opportunity for young Jewish adults in our community to spend time with survivors and learn about their stories and experiences,” said Anastasia Plyugina, Director of Caring for Jews in Need at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “We fostered connections through shared food, music, and appreciation for the survivors’ unwavering resilience. It was a special day that reinforced our commitment to always care for the generations that came before us.”
“As survivors are getting older and frailer, their needs are increasing,” said Heather. “We have a lot of survivors who live alone and struggle with loneliness and isolation. For over 17 years, Café Europa has provided survivors with a safe space for social connection.” Even throughout the pandemic, JFSLA provided virtual programming for survivors to connect with each other, and frequent phone calls were made to survivors by JFSLA volunteers and staff.
“This was the first time we hosted a celebration for Holocaust Survivor Appreciation Day,” said Heather. “We really thought about what would make the survivors happy: food, conversation, music, and especially the connection with people. Our community is very important to them.”
Several survivors commented on how delicious the food was, others loved sharing their words of wisdom with a younger generation, and all enjoyed sharing a meal together in person.
For more information about our services and programs for survivors of the Holocaust, visit jfsla.org/survivors-of-the-holocaust.