WE NEVER FORGET OUR HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS
Our Federation cares deeply for our most vulnerable seniors including our cherished Holocaust survivors. The COVID-19 pandemic has left survivors desperately isolated and increasingly cut off from the outside world. As a response, we have stepped up our vital social services and, together with our Jewish Family Services L.A. partners and in accordance with health and safety standards, recently helped organize a Café Europa event where a group of survivors gathered to share stories, hear live music for the first time in years, and leave with a nutritious meal. While we have maintained Café Europa virtually during the pandemic, those who attended relayed how much it meant for them to feel the power of community in person again. Café Europa offers a space for survivors to meet regularly, build supportive relationships, and participate in social and educational activities.
CARING FOR OUR COMMUNITY’S MENTAL HEALTH
Our Federation looks after the mental health of our Jewish community and is committed to leading our community back into the light during these dark times. The pandemic has caused massive increases in anxiety about health, job security, depression, and loss. We recognize that in times like this we often turn to our rabbis for spiritual guidance, so we created two innovative programs that will help rabbis identify and address mental health issues among their congregants. The first is a set of two insightful workshops about counseling congregants in these challenging times. This two-session program will provide a confidential forum for rabbis to discuss the difficulty in counseling congregants and get input on how to make their counseling more effective. The second is a program Briyut Hanefesh (Hebrew for health of the spirit), which consists of a group of rabbis who will meet regularly to focus on mental health awareness and provide a forum to ensure that the rabbis who look after us are able to address their own mental health concerns.
STRENGTHENING OUR COMMUNITY’S BOND WITH ISRAEL
Our Federation is steadfast in our support of our local community’s bond with Israel. This bond often begins to form during a young person’s first trip to Israel, creating a powerful and lifelong connection to the Holy Land. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these trips have mostly been canceled, but this year, with determination and innovation, we are bringing back Birthright Israel L.A. Way in a safe and responsible manner. Birthright Israel L.A Way is much more than just a free trip — our young adults will be able to travel with other Jewish Angelenos, visit cutting-edge Israeli nonprofits, and spend time with Israeli peers for an insider’s view of society and the global Jewish community — from multiple perspectives. And once the trip is over, we make it easy for them to stay in touch with their new Israeli friends by offering exclusive post-trip programs and events.