Passover is coming and still there are many Holocaust survivors who can’t afford to buy food for the holiday.
Passover is a holiday that celebrates the time when the Israelites were freed from their captors in Egypt, and into the promised land of Israel. We remember this time of captivity and freedom that our ancestors experienced, thousands of years ago. But for some, a time of imprisonment in the hands of anti-Semitic captors is a real life experience. This season is a very real celebration of freedom for those who went through the horrors of the Holocaust.
Lidia is a survivor from Russia who immigrated to Israel in 1998. She lives in a small Jerusalem apartment and receives a meager monthly pension. Every day she has one hot meal from a soup kitchen. Passover is Lidia’s favorite season. She identifies with the Jewish people who left Egypt for the Holy Land. Jews in Russia felt like slaves under communist Russia, feeling the enormous pressure to hide their Jewish identity.
Every month, Leo has to choose between buying medicine or food. Riddled with ailments, he walks around his apartment in Israel with tubes trailing behind him. He has TB from hiding from the Nazis, a withered hand from a Nazi bullet, plus epilepsy, asthma, and a pacemaker. Trying to save money to pay for food, he takes less of his medicine than prescribed which take a toll on his health, and oftentimes the result is an asthma attack. He has a pair of eyeglasses only because a German woman who read about his impoverished situation sent him money to buy a pair.
Rivka lost most of her family to the Nazis in Ukraine. Now she lives alone in a deteriorating apartment not too far from Tel Aviv. She is blind among other ailments and life is hard. Although she is not homeless, there’s never enough money for utilities or home expenses. She is barely keeping her head above water every month.
There are some 20,000 survivors living in Israel and that number is rapidly decreasing, as most survivors are now in their 80’s. Many of them have very little money or food, stand in line at soup kitchens daily, wear used clothing, and struggle with many physical, emotional and psychological ailments. Some can’t pay their bills and have their power cut off by the electricity company, leaving them cold and in the dark. Others, in desperation, dig through garbage cans. How can we turn a blind eye while they live in humiliation and shame?
These precious souls have gone through so much. They survived the Holocaust, where they were taken from their homes and lost many loved ones. Moving to Israel afterwards was a tremendous battle, as the ships were either sent back or the travelers were put in detention camps by the British. Many fought for Israel’s independence and in the wars that followed. They found the strength after everything they went through to work hard and raise families in Israel, only to live their final days in pain, loneliness, and poverty.
Israel Today is giving grocery gift certificates to poor Holocaust survivors, as many live in similar or worse situations to Lidia, Leo, and Rivka. Join Israel Today in our effort to give food vouchers to those in need.
Give a gift of love to a survivor so that they can have a taste of freedom this Passover and all year round. Click here.