Posted on: 29 May 2019

Can you imagine spending 67 years with your best friend and loved one, and then one day they are gone? This is the sorrowful reality for Naomi, a precious Holocaust Survivor who just lost her husband and closest friend, Avraham.

Death is difficult to face for everyone at the ICEJ’s Home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa: for the residents who are losing their spouses and dearest friends, for the staff who are losing patients that have become like family, and for the actual families of the survivors who are losing beloved parents and grandparents. Since most of the more than 70 Holocaust survivors at the Home are now in their 80s and 90’s, such losses have been unfortunately occurring quite often over recent years due to their advanced age. Yet, they always seem to band together and pull one another through it all.

During the week of sitting shiva for Avraham – a time when family and friends mourn the passing of a loved one according to Jewish tradition – Naomi was visited not only by her own relatives but also by her friends from the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors. The cook even made special visits to the family home to provide food for everyone.

ICEJ staff members Yudit Setz and Jannie Tolhoek warmly embraced their friend Naomi at the shiva. Due to the friendship and trust established over the years, Naomi shared from her broken heart that she did not know how she would live without her husband after 67 years of life together. Naomi’s tearful granddaughter also showed us one of her favorite memories, which was a photo of her dancing with grandpa Avraham on her wedding day.

The sweet comfort of community shared among the survivors, staff, and family members at the Haifa Home is tangible, especially in such times of grief.

These losses also are a reminder of the opportunity we have right now to show all the love and comfort we can to those Holocaust survivors still alive and under our care at the Haifa Home!

Please support the ICEJ’s Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors. Make your donation today at