The unexpected and difficult war that was imposed on the nation of Israel on October 7th has affected everyone. For us, at Vision for Israel, we were affected in many ways and had to cancel and change several planned events. One of those special events that was canceled in October was a musical brunch for Holocaust survivors.
As we saw the war continuing for months, we decided it was time to move forward in planning this special event for the Holocaust survivors. It was important for us to provide an opportunity for the Holocaust survivors to get out of the house, enjoy a time of fellowship together, and remind them that we care about them and have not forgotten about them, especially in the shadow of the war.
Two and a half months after the start of the war, on December 27th, we hosted 45 Holocaust survivors from Jerusalem at the Millennium Center. We sponsored the transportation for them to the Millennium Center as well as the day’s activities and food. Batya, Barry, and the staff of the Holocaust Victims Welfare Fund greeted them upon their arrival.
A musician played pleasant music in the background, while the Holocaust survivors enjoyed hot and cold drinks, pastries, cakes, and fruit. As the survivors sat down, Batya and Barry sang songs and welcomed them all to this wonderful event. Then a rich, healthy, and delicious brunch was served to the tables, which included special breads, tortilla rolls, a variety of spreads, and vegetables.
After the meal, one of the survivors gave a moving speech, inspiring and strengthening all attendees. He spoke about the situation in the country and the parallel to the Holocaust. He emphasized that Israel is a strong country with a strong army. He pointed out that the Holocaust survivors were the ones to found this country, and the young generation is chosen to preserve and protect Israel in every possible way. Indeed, in these very moments, many of the grandchildren of the survivors are risking their lives for the safety of us all.
After this meaningful moment, it was time for the main event - an interesting, exciting, and funny play featuring the history of Jerusalem and its neighborhoods. It was a one-man show. He played several characters by changing costumes, voices, and body language. Two musicians accompanied him by singing Israeli songs, including songs of Jerusalem, while the actor changed into the next character.
After they had fun, laughed, sang, and were inspired, each Holocaust survivor received a warm duvet for the winter as a gift from VFI. The Holocaust survivors thanked us for the encouraging and enjoyable time they had that day. Many left our center with big smiles on their faces, and this was exactly what we were hoping for!
One of the survivors especially touched our hearts, when she shared with tears in her eyes: "I thank you so much for this day. You gave me the moments that I didn't have in my childhood, that were taken from me. I am so excited and I thank you for this moment".
We praise God for this meaningful time we had with the Holocaust survivors. We are grateful that God allowed us to help bring hope, joy, and strength to these Holocaust survivors as the war continues to rage on.