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ICEJ Haifa Team 'Upgrading' Haifa Home

Haifa Home Update March/April 2019

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22 Mar 2019
ICEJ Haifa Team 'Upgrading' Haifa Home

We truly have an out-of-the-ordinary home,” assured ICEJ Haifa Home director Yudit Setz.

The purpose of ICEJ’s Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors is not just to provide the best care for the residents, but also to bring purpose in their last years of life. In fact, it was revealed in a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that while Holocaust survivors experience more chronic illness than the general population, they outlive them by an average of seven years. The study cites several possible reasons for this, such as their unique resilience, including favourable genetic, physical and emotional capabilities which may have helped them survive the Shoah in the first place.

However, this extra lease on life requires a special kind of care, not just for the body but also for the mind and the soul. Therefore, ICEJ’s Haifa Home provides the Holocaust survivors with opportunities to share their personal stories of suffering and survival with visitors from around the world. Each story, along with photos, is also displayed in the Haifa Home’s museum, which receives a steady stream of visitors both from Israel and abroad.

The Haifa Home buildings are always in need of maintenance, so the ICEJ team in Haifa recently launched a renovation and expansion called ‘Project Upgrade.’ This work is overseen by a dynamic couple, Yudit and Will Setz, who are on-site managing the daily progress of the renovations. When heavy rain and wind hit Haifa early in the new year, causing water damage in some apartments and even toppling an old tree against the main dining hall, Yudit and Will were able to respond rapidly and supervise the cleanup and repairs.

“Our journey now is discovering how to fit our volunteers into the work we do”, explained Yudit. “We started to invite Christian handymen from abroad to join our local team in refurbishing many of the older apartments and to adapt the living quarters of the residents to their changing needs. It has been a great blessing for the residents.”

At the same time, this project is impacting the Christian volunteers in special ways. They take pride in bettering the home through their valuable time and trade skills. These foreign volunteers also not only see the land but connect with the people and return to their home countries as ambassadors for Israel.

One recent handyman from Germany was 72-year-old Rainer Kert. During his stay, Rainer helped repair a handrail and other features around the property, bringing greater safety and comfort to the survivors at the Haifa Home. After serving the survivors for several weeks, Rainer stated: “What touched me the most was that I was in such close contact with people who lived through hell, and that I – a German – could have a positive impact in making the lives of Holocaust survivors more comfortable.”

This year the ICEJ team in Haifa hopes to:
-Upgrade and expand the volunteer infrastructure
-Create more videos capturing the great work ICEJ is doing at the Haifa Home
-Develop a local team in Haifa to help with the daily tasks
-Finish construction in a new building for residents in need of intensive care
-Continue upgrading and renovating existing buildings
-Add gardens and beautify the exteriors of the survivor’s home.

This one-of-a-kind humanitarian project needs your prayers. Please pray for God’s wisdom in Will and Yudit’s daily decisions, for a healthy balance of work and rest, for grace to minister to the residents, and for the right volunteers at the right time to complete each job. As the ICEJ Haifa team moves forward in this year of new beginnings, we look ahead with great expectation to see how the Lord will continue to move in extraordinary ways!

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