Change Region:New Zealand

ICEJ Helps Launch National Call Center to Serve Holocaust Survivors

Printer-friendly versionSend by email
Posted on: 
15 Jul 2021
ICEJ Helps Launch National Call Center to Serve Holocaust Survivors

This week, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem joined its charitable partners Yad Rosa and Bnai Zion to open the first-of-its-kind National Call Center to serve the urgent needs of Holocaust survivors and other elderly Israelis nationwide.

The National Call Center was dedicated on Tuesday evening in the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa, just two blocks from the ICEJ’s special Home for Holocaust Survivors. The call center was the vision of Shimon Sabag, CEO of Yad Rosa, which he founded last year amid the corona crisis to assist Holocaust survivors forced to isolate in their homes to avoid the virus. The ICEJ has joined with Bnai Zion, an American Jewish charitable organization, to provide the seed funding to help the newly expanded National Call Center operate during its initial years of service.

Over the past year, tens of thousands of elderly Holocaust survivors in Israel have been confined to their homes due to COVID-19. This left many struggling with loneliness and the return of painful memories as Jewish youths trapped in Nazi-occupied Europe.

In response, Yad Rosa opened an emergency call center in Haifa last year to reach out to Holocaust survivors and other elderly in the surrounding area. The center began taking them groceries and hot meals, arranging home repairs, driving survivors to the doctor for medical care and vaccine shots, and sending volunteers on home visits to lift their spirits. Some received walkers or wheelchairs to help them get around. A fleet of scooters also was acquired to ensure rapid responses to those with immediate needs. The crisis center also simply called survivors to check in and let them know someone cared.

The ICEJ joined in supporting this local call center in Haifa earlier this year, and the vision has since grown to providing one central emergency call center to serve the whole nation, with local distribution warehouses to be set up in several large Israeli cities to eventually cover all regions of the country.

Israel has been slowly emerging from the corona lockdowns, but the experience of the last year has shown many of the 165,000 Holocaust survivors still living in Israel have pressing needs regardless of corona. Many tend to be reclusive, and thus a nationwide strategy was needed to ensure they are getting the care and attention they need and deserve. The Yad Rosa national call center will provide an effective means to assist these Holocaust survivors and other struggling elderly citizens in a wide variety of ways.

The new national call center will operate 24 hours around the clock on weekdays, and will be manned by staff and community volunteers from across Israeli society, as well as youth performing their year of national service. These teams will be actively reaching out to scores of Holocaust survivors every day to inquire about their condition and needs, and then work to immediately assist them. For instance, they will help provide medical and rehabilitation equipment, oxygen generators, wheelchairs and walkers, surveillance cameras for continuous assistance, as well as prescribed medications, hot meals and groceries, all free of charge to the Holocaust survivors and other elderly In Israel. The volunteers also will pay home visits, and deliver blankets, appliances and other household items, as needed.

One special feature of the new initiative is a plan to deliver for free a Medical Alert watch to every Holocaust survivor in Israel. This digital watch can monitor the wearer’s vital signs and has an emergency alert button and GPS locator to alert the Yad Rosa teams and other first responders of an urgent need and where to find them.

Another key feature of the national emergency center will be the fleet of scooters to be deployed nationwide which will allow fast responses to those in urgent need of help.

ICEJ vice president & senior spokesman David Parsons was on hand at the dedication ceremony on Tuesday evening to cut the ribbon at the new national calling center, along with Shimon Sabag of Yad Rosa, Rabbi Ari Lamm, the CEO of Bnai Zion, and Israeli-American actress and Haifa native Moran Atias.

Parsons also spoke that evening with Shaked, a 19 year-old volunteer doing her national service at the existing call center for the Haifa area. Shaked described her work as “very interesting and meaningful, to be in direct contact with these elderly people and know you are making a difference in their lives. I also enjoy working with all the volunteers on our team, who give of their time and come from all sectors – both young and old, Jews and non-Jews. It shows how much they all care!”

The new national call center is located just two blocks for the ICEJ’s special assisted living facility for Holocaust survivors in Haifa, which we will continue to operate and even expand in the years to come. But there is still so much more to be done to help these Holocaust survivors live out their last days with dignity and free of concerns on how to make ends meet.

This new national call center provides a timely, effective and comprehensive means to meet the needs of many more worthy Holocaust survivors all across Israel. And we are looking to our Christian friends and supporters worldwide to help us fund this emergency center in the years ahead.

Please extend your hand of compassion to deserving Holocaust survivors in Israel by supporting this nationwide calling center in Haifa. Thank you for caring, and for acting today!



Share this: