The average age of the 192,000 or so Holocaust survivors currently living in Israel is 85 years. Survivors tend to have unique problems that accompany them throughout their lives, intensifying over the years: health problems, psychological distress, anxieties, unbearable loneliness and lack of family and social support that would have sweetened their difficult lives at an advanced age. Their financial situation is very difficult and about a quarter suffer from acute poverty.
This past Hanukkah, we decided to bring light into the lives of Holocaust survivors—people who have experienced very dark times in their past. We were excited to welcome dozens of survivors at the Millennium Centre. After enjoying a rich brunch, an ensemble of instrumental artists performed to them, breathing into them joy, and dispelling the daily miseries that follow them.
The survivors were looking forward to this day, and it was exciting to see their smiles and laughter, to watch them rise and dance with enthusiasm, and to hear their singing and enthusiastic applause.
The eighth candle of Hanukkah was lit by the survivor's representative and the candlelight brought warmth to the room and everyone’s heart.
As a souvenir from the joyous and pleasant event, every survivor received a gift: bedding, lap blanket, towel, and scarf. The deep gratitude from the participants was evident and immediate, and they expressed their profound appreciation for the thought that went into every detail of the event.
In the planning stages of the Millennium Centre about 10 years ago, we saw before us a building that would spread the light of joy—a centre that would provide assistance, healing, and rehabilitation to the body and mind. On the architectural drawings, we wrote "Centre of the Lighthouse."
There is nothing more gratifying than bringing light into the lives of others, especially those who experienced darkness, evil and bereavement in their lives.