Yad Ezer La-Haver foundation was founded in the year 2001, when the background to its establishment was the difficult social and economic situation in the country.
The foundation runs a 'Warm Home' for Holocaust survivors, soup kitchens for needy families and children at risk. As a rule the foundation strives to help every person in distress who turns to them, and not to turn away any empty-handed person.

טקס יום השואה הבינלאומי בבית החם

טקס יום השואה הבינלאומי בבית החם 2018

טקס יום השואה הבינלאומי עם השגריר הנוצרי

טקס יום השואה הבינלאומי עם השגריר הנוצרי 2018

תשדיר עמותת "יד עזר לחבר"

עמותת "יד עזר לחבר" משכנת ב"בית החם לניצולי השואה" בקריית החסד שהקימה העמותה בחיפה למעלה מ-120 ניצולי שואה

שיקום בית שרוף בחיפה ע'י עמותת יד עזר לחבר

עמותת יד עזר לחבר פינתה וסייעה למאות ניצולי שואה וקשישים בגל השריפות שפקד את העיר חיפה, ועזרה בשיקום בית שרוף

אש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו על טקס מלכות היופי לניצולות שואה לשנת 2016

באולמי 'גן הקונגרסים' בחיפה, נבחרה אנה גריניס ל 'מלכת היופי של ישראל לניצולות שואה לשנת 2016'

Holocaust survivors at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, as well meet the Prime Minister of Israel - Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu

Subtitles in English

כתבה ששודרה בתוכנית הטלויזיה מבט שני בערוץ הראשון, לקראת יום השואה 2016

הוצאות עצומות על תרופות, קיצבה דלה, רעב, קור, אלימות וטראומות נפשיות. מבט שני על מאבק ההישרדות השני של ניצולי השואה בישראל 2016

מקבץ ארועים לסכום שנת 2015 מפעילותה הענפה של עמותת יד עזר לחבר

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    A Pageant for Holocaust Survivors

    Each year, Haifa, Israel, plays host to a beauty pageant. But the contestants aren’t what you’d expect.

    A Pageant for Survivors from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

    Each one is a Holocaust survivor. And last year’s winner—84 year-old Rita Berkowitz—is set to pass her crown on to the new queen. This pageant has had critics who claim that the event sensationalizes the suffering of the participants, but Rita doesn’t see it that way. For her, the pageant is a way for survivors from all over Israel to come together and celebrate being alive.

    Great Big Story is a video network dedicated to the untold, overlooked & flat-out amazing. Humans are capable of incredible things & we’re here to tell their stories. When a rocket lands in your
    backyard, you get in.

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    'We are the last Auschwitz survivors'

    She kept silent for 40 years. Yet, since Judith Rosenzweig learned the Holocaust is being denied with greater regularity, she decided to speak about the ghettos, forced marches and concentration camps she survived.

    “The past lives on in me, it cannot be hidden,” says Judith Rosenzweig. Now, in old age, her childhood memories are coming back. Rosenzweig was born in 1930, in what was then the Republic of Czechoslovakia. In 1942, she and her family were deported to Theresienstadt. From there, they were taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp. She, her mother and her sister survived the ordeal. After various internments at labor camps, she was sent to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. Her mother died just one week after the camp was liberated. Judith Rosenzweig never saw her father after they were separated at Auschwitz. She arrived in Israel in 1948, at the age of 18. There, she worked as a nurse and started a family.
    Today, the 87-year-old lives at a senior citizens’ home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa. The home was started by the Yad Ezer L’Haver (A Helping Hand for a Friend) initiative as a way to help Holocaust survivors in need. It is partially financed with aid from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), a Christian Zionist organization.

    DW: Mrs. Rosenzweig, you were just a child when the war broke out. How did you experience that time?
    Judith Rosenzweig: In my memoirs I wrote: “I was born in paradise, then I was banished, just like Adam and Eve.” I was born in 1930, and I was nine years old when the Germans arrived in the Republic of Czechoslovakia. The occupation started with various decrees – we were not allowed to go to the park or the cinema. Then Jewish children were barred from attending school. We were not allowed to study and I only went to four classes. In late 1941 they began deporting Jewish families to the Theresienstadt ghetto. My family was taken there in March 1942.

    Your memories of Theresienstadt were published in the book “The Girls of Room 28”.
    I shared a room there with 29 other girls. We were there all day long. The beds were stacked three-high; you couldn’t sit up in them. Behind the bed was a board where we kept our personal belongings: toothbrush, comb and soup bowl. And that was all the living space we had. Our guard tried to keep us busy. She also taught us, even though it was forbidden.
    In 1944, your family was deported to Auschwitz.
    Trains were leaving all the time. We had no idea what was happening to the people that were taken away. In 1944 they took us: my mother, my father and my sister. My brother was already gone by then. When we arrived in Auschwitz the women were put into one line, the men in another. That was the last time I ever saw my father, standing there among the other men. When you arrived in Auschwitz, the camp physician, Dr. Josef Mengele, decided who was fit to work and who wasn’t. Those who weren’t were sent to the gas chambers immediately. He declared myself, my mother and my sister fit to work. They sent us to a barracks where we had to undress and hand over our clothes. Then they sent us to the showers and gave us very thin clothing. The next day Mengele came in and once again decided who would be sent to work.
    Auschwitz was liberated in 1945, but you had been sent to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp as a forced laborer
    just a few weeks prior to that.

    We weren’t in Auschwitz very long before we were sent off to work somewhere else. It was the middle of winter and we were forced to go on foot. In February, we were transported to Bergen Belsen in open railcars. It was a horrific place. Everyone there was dying from starvation and disease. We had to stand outside in the cold for hours each day because we were told that we had to be counted. I was often unconscious, and my mother and sister had to prop me up as we stood there. When the camp was liberated, in April 1945, I suppose the British soldiers that saw us must have been shocked. We were given soup and I immediately felt better. My sister fell ill, and my mother died just one week after the camp was liberated.
    After the war you returned to Czechoslovakia.

    When my sister and I returned home my brother was already there. But the house was empty. I told my brother and sister that I was going to Israel. I didn’t want to stay someplace that I was not welcome. But it took two years before I could go to Israel. Eventually I traveled from Marseille to Jaffa. The date was May 15, 1948 – the first day of the state of Israel.
    You were 18 when you arrived in Israel. How were you received?
    First we were sent to hotels, then we were asked where we wanted to go. The next day we were given bus tickets. I wanted to be near Haifa, where my aunt lived. I wanted to go to school but I was already too old. There wasn’t always a lot of understanding for what we had been through. At the time, my aunt asked me what I had experienced in Europe. As I began to tell her she stopped me and said: Oh come on, you are exaggerating. I never spoke about my experience for the next 40 years. It wasn’t until I learned that people around the world were denying that the Shoah took place that I decided to speak up.
    Today, at 87, you travel and tell your story. How important is it to you that people remember what happened?
    It is very important to me because there are always people that say we made it all up. I have been to Germany a couple of times to speak at schools. It is important that our memories aren’t forgotten. My generation is the last of those who survived Auschwitz. It is really difficult to understand what was done to Jews, and why. That should never be allowed to happen again, and one must share that message with the world. You cannot kill people because of their religion.
    Tania Kr?mer conducted this interview in Haifa.

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    111By: “Yad Ezer Lechaver” News reporter
    Born in a small town in Poland bordering Germany, Miriam remembers the day the Nazis arrived. Just five days after their initial attack on Warsaw, Nazi troops marched into town, closed all Synagogues, executed the first Jew and assigned the rest of them to hard labour. Miriam and other young girls had the gruelling task of clearing snow and stones off a field, only to be ordered to put the stones back the very next day. Anyone not working hard enough, in the eyes of the Nazis, was ruthlessly beaten.   
    Before long, Miriam and the others were transported to Ghetto Lodz. They lived there for a month: Sleeping in the cold, winter streets on makeshift straw mattresses before being marched back to town, where another Ghetto had been prepared. One by one, Miriam’s sister, brother and grandmother were sent off to different camps; she never saw them again. Miriam can still recall the sounds of wailing and sobbing as family members were separated.
    DSC_8152In 1942, Miriam was sent back to Ghetto Lodz, a place of starvation, sickness and constant death, only to be taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau two years later. The chaos which greeted them and ensuing months of living constantly surrounded by death were, in Miriam’s words, “beyond the realm of human language” to describe. Thankfully, this nightmare ended when the camp was liberated in the spring of 1945.
    Miriam’s parents and all but one of her siblings did not survive the war. Once freed, Miriam began her journey to the land of Palestine – soon to become Israel – on the ‘Biria.’ In this ship, the Jewish passengers were packed together like sardines with hardly any access to food, but the hope of arriving in a Jewish homeland kept them alive. Upon arrival, British troops detained Miriam and the other passengers on charges of traveling to Palestine illegally, but as British rule in Palestine was withering, the war victims were eventually released.
    Miriam recalls dancing in the streets on the day Israel declared statehood. After years of living in a nightmare, she was now witnessing a dream: The Jewish people finally had a home! Today Miriam is a proud mother of three, grandmother of nine, and great grandmother of seven beautiful children.
    Miriam is a one of thr resident at the “Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors”. As her health diminishes, she is grateful for the care and companionship she enjoys at the Home. You can contribute to this work which ensures these precious survivors are surrounded by love in the remaining years of their lives. Make your donation at http://yadezer.org.il/?page_id=3130&lang=en
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    By: R.Frizi “Yad Ezer Lechaver” News reporter
    For the rest of the world, Holocaust Remembrance Day is every January, when the Allied armies liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. In Israel, however, this occasion is held in the spring. For Israelis, this year’s Yom HaShoah– Holocaust Remembrance Day – falls on the 5th of May; since the date is fixed in the Jewish calendar, it changes from year to year in the Western calendar.
    Inaugurated in 1953 and anchored in a law signed by the Prime-Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion and President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the originally-proposed date was the 14th of Nisan, the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (April 19, 1943). The timing was problematic, however, because it fell right after Passover. So the date was moved to the 27th of Nisan, eight days before Israeli Independence Day.
    Every year on Yom HaShoah, “Yad Ezer Lechaver” hosts a special ceremony at our Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors, which is attended by many dignitaries from Haifa and other cities, including Rabbis and political figures, groups of students, soldiers and other Israeli servicemen and women.
    Yudit Herskowitz: I lost all my family in Auschwitz. When we arrived in Auschwitz, we were separated and we saw smoke, but we had no idea what was happening. I am the only one of my whole extended family that came out alive. I’m still trying to find out what happened to each one of them. Every year at Holocaust Memorial Day I am glued to the TV, hoping to see if I might find something out about my family.On this day is when I hold a personal memorial for all those I lost.
    Genia Swartzbert: Every week I light 5 candles. Three for my family that perished and two for the Russian women who saved my life. We should not forget the good things, and we should not forget the bad things.
    Chava Herskowitz: It is a very difficult day. When my children were little and still living with me, I tried not to be with them when the sirens went off [for one minute of silence], because I would always cry. We didn’t want to burden our children with our past and wanted them to be happy, so for many years we never told them the things we went through. It is a day I think about my family that was murdered and I say the mourner’s prayer.  It is like visiting their grave on that day.
    Shimon Sabag: All of Israel is one and remembers what happened on Yom HaShoah. One third of the Jews in Europe were killed. On this day we remember the families who were murdered. Many have no grave to go to and mourn. It is an important day to learn from – they wanted to destroy the Jewish people, and the world didn’t believe it would happen. We hear these voices even today. We need to be alert and learn from the past, so it will never happen again.
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    A special Holocaust "Hagadah" for Passover edition


    I’m Shimon, CEO of Yadezer Lehaver, Israeli NPO established in 2001 and engaged in support of Holocaust survivors.

    Did you now, that only 54 percent of adult around the world have heard about the Holocaust?

    Did you know that most of young people around the world just have not heard about the Holocaust?

    Memories about Holocaust just disappear. For me these memories are not just some abstract memories, these are personal memories of people who survived in the Holocaust, people who I help every day.

    So, I’d like to ask you to participate in our project. We will prepare special books of “Hagadah” for Passover edition, which would include exclusive art work and personal Jewish receipt of Holocaust survivors.

    Cost of the printing and edition is $23,800.  I believe, you will enjoy  reading this book.

    In order to donate for this book, click this link:


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    A Delegation of Guests from Germany visits the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors

    On Friday this week a large delegation of many guests from Germany visited the Holocaust survivors, residents of the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’

    By: The News Reporter of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation

    On Friday this week a large delegation of many guests from Germany visited the Holocaust survivors, residents of the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation in the foundation’s Village of Kindness in Kassel Street in Haifa. The many guests visited and toured around the ‘Warm Home’ of the Holocaust Survivors, and the ‘Monument to the Survivors’ Museum, which was established by the foundation in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. They also visited the Holocaust survivors’ houses, and during the visit the Holocaust survivors and guests assembled for an exciting meeting in the foundation’s ‘Social Club’, where a short film was screened to them about the Holocaust survivors’ visit to the Israeli President’s Residence that took place not long ago in Jerusalem, on the occasion of International Holocaust Memorial Day, on 27/01/2016.

     Fullscreen capture 02032016 231741.bmp

    The foundation’s founder and director Mr. Shimon Sabag, thanked all of the guests from Germany for devoting their time to visiting Israel and the foundation’s many Holocaust survivors. The guests from Germany were given an extensive overview in German by Yudit Setz, Deputy Director of the Welfare Department at the Christian Embassy of Jerusalem who accompanied the visit throughout the whole day, about ‘The Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ and the lifetime achievements of Shimon Sabag.

    During the visit of the delegation of guests from Germany, they listened attentively to the many testimonies of the numerous Holocaust survivors, residents of the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’, about their life stories and their fascinating stories of survival from the time of the Holocaust. The Holocaust survivors told of how they valiantly survived the hell of the Auschwitz death camp and the Nazi oppressor.


    All the members of the group listened most attentively to Holocaust survivor Ms. Chava Hershkovitz, 82 years old, born in Romania and resident of the foundation’s ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’, who told of her life in the time of the Holocaust when she was evicted from her home in Romania in the year 1941, and was sent to a detention camp in the Soviet Union, where she stayed for three years. Ms. Hershkovitz said to the guests: “We want it not to be forgotten that there was a Holocaust, and if we don’t point this out then nobody will remember any more.” It is worth noting that Ms. Hershkovitz has herself been supporting the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ for many years with all its needs, and with administrative work in the foundation’s office in a fully voluntary role.

    Most emotional and heart rending stories were recounted by artist and painter Ms. Mania Herman, 83 years old, born in Romania, who now lives in the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’, who told of her childhood when she was just 8 years old and under the shadow of the Nazi oppressor at the time of the Holocaust, during which her, her parents and all her family were deported to a concentration camp in Ukraine where they suffered from the most difficult living conditions, starving from a lack of food, in terrible cold and in constant sickness. The many guests from Germany were given a tour of her exhibition of paintings in the social club. Ms. Mania Herman has a particularly heart rending story, she has already written three books about her childhood in the Holocaust and her survival together with her parents in the camp of Transnistria in Ukraine, as well as her aliyah to Israel. She has been painting for many years, and her paintings are related to her personal experiences.

    The many guests from Germany were very emotional, and during the exciting meeting with the Holocaust survivors, it was also clear to see at every second, tears coming down their eyes. It was truly touching!

    Photos: Josh Dean, Adir Yaziref

    P1070937 P1070934P1070933 P1070922 IMG_7349IMG_1676

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    President of Israel Reuven Rivlin greets Holocaust survivors in the warmest of welcomes at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem to mark International Holocaust Memorial Day !

    On the occasion of ‘International Holocaust Memorial Day’, which fell on Wednesday this week 27/1/2016, Holocaust survivors, staff and volunteers of the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ foundation were hosted at the residence of the Israeli President in Jerusalem.

    By: News reporter of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’

    On the occasion of ‘International Holocaust Memorial Day’, which fell on Wednesday this week 27/1/2016, Holocaust survivors, staff and volunteers of the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ foundation were hosted at the residence of the Israeli President in Jerusalem. President of Israel Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin met and hosted the Holocaust survivors in great warmth at a meeting of the most exciting caliber, and many present shed a tear. During the meeting President Rivlin said to the Holocaust survivors: “To those who lived at the bottom and managed to establish a home here, it is our duty to promise them that the Holocaust survivors who live among us, will live out their lives in comfort and will have peaceful lives.” The Israeli President further added: “It is no more than our moral duty as a country and as a people, with the window of opportunity gradually closing to promise the generation of survivors the required wellbeing. We, here in this country, owe to the Holocaust survivors these moments that shall not be lacking. The People of Israel is alive, and the survivors are without doubt one of the reasons for that.”

    Founder and director of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ foundation Mr. Shimon Sabag, awarded during the meeting a painting born of the fruits of the paintbrush of a resident at the foundation’s ‘Warm Home’, Holocaust survivor Ms. Manya Hermann and this accompanied Mr. Shalom Shamberg, 92 years old, a Holocaust survivor from Poland who resided in the Warsaw Ghetto and survived the hell of the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and his wife Zelda, who is also a Holocaust survivor. Mr. Sabag said in the ceremony full of emotion: “There is no better proof for the Holocaust survivors that the People of Israel, than when the President and the symbol of the country hosts them here today at his residence, the presidential residence with the kind of honour bestowed to kings. If we had had a country at the time of the Second World War, it is clear that there would not have been a Holocaust. Now this is our goal, to strengthen the nation so that those who rise up to destroy us will not succeed and will not even think to do so.”


    Director of the foundation Mr. Shimon Sabag also thanked the President for the invitation. President Rivlin praised Mr. Sabag, the staff and the volunteers of the foundation who work day and night for the wellbeing of the Holocaust survivors each day of the year. He further praised the blessed and sublime work of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation and the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’, which is at the loving residence of the foundation in Haifa. “This is sacred volunteering”, so he said to the Holocaust survivors. At the end of the meeting, the President stood with the Holocaust survivors and spoke with them. The President also welcomed for a conversation in his office the director of the Christian Embassy, which donates to the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation and to many other just causes.


    The visit of the delegation of Holocaust survivors from the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation caused an enormous influx of comments online, and this was due to the personal story of Holocaust survivor Mr. Shalom Shtamberg who was able during the ceremony to take out a black and white photo from the days when he was a young Jewish prisoner in the Warsaw Ghetto. President Reuven Rivlin saw the photo, took it in his hand, placed it against his chest and wiped a tear of emotion from his face. Director of the foundation Mr. Shimon Sabag, who saw the emotional tribute on the part of the Israeli President, was himself unable to hold back the emotion, to the point of tears; and it goes without saying that also for all those who were present, the warm welcome at the President’s Residence ended with not a dry eye in sight.


    In addition all of Holocaust survivor Shalom Shtamberg’s family were murdered at the hands of the Nazi oppressor. He is a father to two daughters, a grandfather to seven grandchildren and a great-grandfather to six great-grandchildren.

    For many years Mr. Shtamberg has devoted his time and contributed greatly to perpetuating the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust and giving lectures to pupils and students in Israel and Germany on the events of the Holocaust, in which he tells his personal journey of survival. For many years he has been active and supports through donations the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation and the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’.


    It is important to point out that the motto that accompanies Mr. Shtamberg is: “To remember and not to forget”. At his home, he is a manager of a small ‘museum’, in which there are documents, records and photos, which deal with documentation of the horrors from the time of the Holocaust.

    At the end of the event Mr. Sabag added: “I stand here today, Mr. President, proud of all the Holocaust survivors that have come here. I feel so excited and I feel it a truly great privilege that I was able to establish the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’, the only big home today in all of Israel, whose sole purpose is to provide for the wellbeing of the Holocaust survivors and to serve them, without any state support.


    The group of Holocaust survivors who were hosted at the President’s Residence were joined by the staff and volunteers of the foundation, among them the brother of the foundation’s director Mr. Baruch Sabag, who manages the branch of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation in the city of Katזrin in the north; social worker Ms. Amit Shaked, the foundation’s security officer Mr. Yisrael Cohen and his wife Mali, the veteran security guard Reuven Frizi, who has volunteered at all the foundation’s events since the day it was founded; the foundation’s doctor- Dr. Arina Neimark-Aliohin, Holocaust survivor and resident of the Warm Home who also volunteers herself at the foundation- Ms. Chavah Hershkowitz, the foundation’s lawyer Mr. Chider Mustafa, manager of the social club Ms. Naomi Iluz, friend of the foundation Ran Lev, Noga and Yaron Carmi from the website ‘Chay poh’, representatives of the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, including director of the embassy Mr. Juha Ketola and welfare manager Ms. Nicole Yoder, and many others.

    It is worth pointing out that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin chose to hold the meeting with the Holocaust survivors in the reception hall of Presidential Residence, a hall in which the President holds state ceremonies to which highly esteemed guests have been hosted, such as President of the United States Barack Obama, the Pope and others.

    When the Holocaust survivors along with all their guests entered the reception hall, they were greeted with great respect and a cold or hot drink that was served with great courtesy by the staff of the President’s Residence. The Holocaust survivors explored the inside of the President’s Residence in which there are busts made of bronze placed on pedestals of all those in the past who have held the role of President of Israel, which are situated both in the reception hall and the lounge of the President’s Residence.

    The Holocaust survivors, staff and volunteers of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation, who attended the meeting at the President’s Residence were also joined by a group of soldiers from the 3rd Squadron of the Rocket Ship Command of the Navy in Haifa. These soldiers volunteer throughout all the days of the year in different activities for the benefit of Holocaust survivors of the foundation.

    Photos: Joe Lotsiano , Yaron Carmi “Haipo” , Adir Yeziref

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    Prime Minister of Israel Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Holocaust survivors of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation on the occasion of ‘International Holocaust Memorial Day’ on 27/1/2016

    There was enormous excitement today, Wednesday 26/1/2016, among the Holocaust survivors of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation’s ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ when they met with Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu in his Tel Aviv office.
    ניצולי שואה מיד עזר מתארחים אצל מר בינימין נתניהו במשרד ראש הממשלה שבלשכתו בתל - אביב

    By: News reporter of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ foundation

    Posts from the news media:

    There was enormous excitement today, Wednesday 26/1/2016, among the Holocaust survivors of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation’s ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ when they met with Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu in his Tel Aviv office. The meeting took place on the occasion of the ‘International Holocaust Memorial Day’, which will fall on Wednesday 27/1/2016. This day is marked in the different countries of the world, and this date was chosen because it was the day when the extermination camp Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army…to remember and not to forget!


    During this most exciting meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “The Holocaust took place because the Jewish people had no country, today whilst we have a country with a strong army, we can cope with all of those who want also today to destroy us.” The Prime Minister further added to his remarks to the Holocaust survivors: “When I see all of you I say- the People of Israel is alive, and my duty as Prime Minister is to continue to concern myself that we have a country that can defend all its inhabitants. For me your stories are not just a memory but a commandment.” Prime Minister Netanyahu turned to founder and director of the foundation Mr. Shimon Sabag, and said to him: “I want to thank you Shimon, I am grateful to you for all the sacred activity that you do and on each day, for the benefit and wellbeing of the Holocaust survivors in general in Israel.” Prime Minister Netanyahu was happy to hear that the Holocaust survivors are contented and blessed the fact that there is such a foundation as ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ that helps so many people.


    At the conclusion of the exciting meeting, he again turned to the Holocaust survivors and said to them: “Your lives are strongly intertwined with every story of the revival of the People of Israel and the State of Israel.” Founder and director of the foundation Mr. Shimon Sabag thanked the Prime Minister that he set aside precious time from his highly busy schedule, and told him that today he fulfilled the dreams of the Holocaust survivors who did not believe that in their lives they would be able to shake hands with the Prime Minister of Israel. He thanked him very much for listening so attentively to the stories of survival of all the survivors who took part in the visit, and also thanked his wife Mrs. Sarah Netanyahu who does a lot of work for the Holocaust survivors in Israel, and even invited her to visit the loving home of the foundation where the Holocaust survivors are living.

    Photos: Kobi Gideon/Ltd., Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with Holocaust survivors of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ foundation on the occasion of ‘International Holocaust Memorial Day’ (26/1/2016), Joe Lotsiano.      

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  • Home page » Help the needy

    Thousands of food parcels for Rosh Hashanah were distributed to the needy in an enormous operation by the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation

    . Leading up to Rosh Hashanah 2015 the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation launched and worked on an enormous, extensive and unprecedented operation

    By: News reporter for the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation, who joined dozens of volunteers in a special, exclusive review.

    For thousands of those in need in the city of Haifa for whom there isn’t yet any food for the festival of Rosh Hashanah, it will arrive on our doorstep at the start of next week. Leading up to Rosh Hashanah 2015 the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation launched and worked on an enormous, extensive and unprecedented operation, not something unusual in the foundation’s long tradition since the day it was founded.


    The Foundation works day and night, and even a long time before Rosh Hashanah they began organizing logistically, comprehensively and extensively the packing of food parcels for families in need, Holocaust survivors, single mothers, homeless street dwellers, the elderly and others who are not able to afford to lay out the Rosh Hashanah table with food. The food parcels with an estimated value of as much as hundreds of shekels, were assembled and packaged by the foundation’s staff and by the great support of dozens of volunteers, among them soldiers, those doing their national service, residents of the foundation’s ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’, and many more. The foundation’s new social club was turned into a big operations room and warehouse many days before the festival of Rosh Hashanah and the preparations and work on packaging the many food parcels for Rosh Hashanah began.


    Many days before Rosh Hashanah, the foundation’s many volunteers loaded the hundreds of food parcels onto vehicles owned by the foundation, which were then distributed from door to door straight to the homes of the families in need, who are not able to make the journey to the foundation’s village of kindness by themselves, which is situated on Kasel Street, in the neighbourhood of Hadar Hacarmel in Haifa. During the course of the day of distributing the food parcels, even soldiers from the military engineering corps unit 603 and others came to volunteer. The foundation’s volunteers also gave their support with kindness and a wide smile for the needy and the elderly, lifting the parcels and putting them into their trollies. The ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation will continue to distribute food parcels right up until the beginning of the festival of Rosh Hashanah.


    The food parcels that were distributed for Rosh Hashanah contained most of the fundamental basic products for the home, such as: Oil, sugar, pasta, rice, different types of beans, boxes of canned food, coffee, tea, chicken soup, chocolate spread, honey cake for the festival, biscuits, sweets for children, etc. As well as fundamental products, a bag full of vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, cabbage, and further varieties of different of quality vegetables, was distributed to the families.


    The enormous distribution operation took place over a number of days and in different and varied times because of the strong heat and the mist that dominated the last few days in Israel; and this was so that thousands of those in need could adjust the times they came to the foundation in Kasel Street in Haifa. The packaging of the food parcels continued into the early hours of the night by the numerous volunteers who help every year during the days of the festival.


    Director and founder of the foundation, Mr. Shimon Sabag, said in great excitement: “I don’t recall in over 25 years, a distributions of food parcels as big as these, and such an enormous volume as this. The foundation has distributed food parcels to the needy for Rosh Hashanah for many years so this is by no means a new thing for us, but this year the scale of the operation greatly increased. Up to now we have packed thousands of food parcels, and the demand is higher than ever. I am really surprised also this year that the number of those in need continues to rise every year. I hope with all that’s in me that here we will manage to help everyone before the beginning of Rosh Hashanah at the start of next week on this coming Sunday on the eve of the festival, that is already very close.” Mr. Sabag added, pointing out: “Beliefs need to be expressed by actions, the discourse in the subject of poverty and social gaps is not falling down from the public agenda and it’s good that that’s the case, but it’s not enough to talk, we also have to do, and do an awful lot… Rosh Hashanah is a fitting time for preparing food parcels, but the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation works across the whole year for the benefit of those of the public who are in need and disadvantaged and specializes in support for the many Holocaust survivors, in many varied ways. The ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation will do all in its power in order to help the needy, and as such it has been a standard bearer since the day it was founded and until there is no longer one person in hunger in our country, be it child, woman or elderly person, the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation will be here to extend a hand of aid, help and support.


    At the end of his talk, Mr. Shimon Sabag requested that a big thank you be given to all of the foundation’s many workers and volunteers, who worked tirelessly in the difficult days of strong heat and heavy mist that unexpectedly fell upon our area. They provided support and put into action the sacred work of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation. He wished them and their family members a blessed new year, health and financial stability, and that they would always continue to realize the verse “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself”.


    It is worth pointing out that many good people took part and supported the large voluntary and organized set up in the extensive operation by the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation for Rosh Hashanah, when above all others, ruling with a strong hand with lots of kindness and smiles for all those in need was the foundation’s deputy director and lawyer Itai Svissa, as well as the foundation’s many workers and volunteers, among them the foundation’s loyal secretary Ms. Tami Sinar, the staff of the ‘Children’s Home’ that supports children in need and at risk in Neve David, Aryeh Bronstein- for many years a senior and devoted volunteer of the foundation, the foundation’s social worker Ms. Amit Eshed, the senior security guard Reuven Frizi, who has helped voluntarily for many years at all the foundation’s events and in all the operations of packing and distributing food packages for the festivals, manager of the foundation’s social club Ms. Naomi Iluz, resident of the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ and senior volunteer of the foundation Ms. Chavah Hershkovitz, the foundation’s doctor Arina Niemark-Alohin and her son Arkadi who helped in the initial registration on the long hot day of distributing the food parcels which was carried out exemplarily. The foundation’s volunteers Shlomi Tsarfati, Yaniv Bar and Avichai Lev, the foundation’s driver Marcelo Kibrik, the foundation’s cook Shimon Hen, and many other good people who there was not enough space to mention all of them here.


    Over the course of the week many other good people came to volunteer at the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation in order to pack food parcels, of which more and more were prepared each day following the enormous demand. This time it was players of the football club “Maccabi Neve Shanan Eldad” from the third league that came. The team vowed to stop training and the whole team came to the foundation’s village of kindness in Kasel Street in Haifa. Under the leadership of the team’s manager Mr. Eli Pisso, the professional staff and all the team’s players played their part and within a number of hours there were already more than an additional full 200 crates of food parcels ready. They packed the parcels themselves, carried them onto the players’ private vehicles, and immediately drove them straight to the doors of the hundreds of those in need across the city of Haifa. The football players were also joined by a number of border guard soldiers from the coast guard- from unit 306 under the command of Shachar and lidan, and from unit 101 under the command of Itai Chayon.


    It is to be noted that at the end of the week on Friday morning, a further extensive distribution of food parcels took place for the needy that were not able to come and take food parcels during the week. In addition Radio Haifa covered the food parcels for Rosh Hashanah distribution operation during the course of the day with a live broadcast. The broadcast appeared in the program ‘Free Arena’ by Tali Liebman, Eli Levi and Yossi Mizrachi.

    Extensive Photo Gallery: Joe Luciano, Adir Yeziref.

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    שמעון סבג , אמר בהתרגשות רבה בדבריו: “לא זכור לי מזה למעלה מ – 25 שנה חלוקות של חבילות מזון גדולות כאלה ובהיקף אדיר ועצום כזה

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  • Home page » Events

    70 Years on Delay

    It’s never too late, 70 years on delay: The most delayed yet exciting Bar and Bat Mitzvahs for dozens of Holocaust survivors at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

    Written by: The news reporter for the ‘Yad Ezer l’Haver’ foundation who joined the bus full of those celebrating a Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall and at the Knesset in Jerusalem.

    The foundation led by its founder and CEO Mr. Shimon Sabag, who first came up with the idea, worked tirelessly for several months, initiated and carried out this most unusual and exciting event for the Holocaust survivors living in the ‘Residential Home for Holocaust Survivors’, which is in the suburb of…in Kasel Street in Haifa.

    Dozens of Holocaust survivors celebrated this week on Monday 13.7.2015 belated Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations at the Western Wall in Jerusalem in the presence of the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Knesset member Yair Lapid, along with other Knesset members and plenty of other guests. This colorful and unusual event was initiated and organized by the foundation ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ for the benefit of the survivors, who were denied such a celebration in their childhood because of the oppression of the Nazis at the time of the Holocaust.

    The event began in the morning with an excursion that set out from the foundation’s base in Kasel Street in Haifa. Among the Holocaust survivors 16 Bar Mitzvah ‘boys’ and 14 Bat Mitzvah ‘girls’, accompanied by dozens of other Holocaust survivors from the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ and from all over Israel who came especially for the event at the plaza of the Western Wall, the remnant of our temple. Already at the entrance to Jerusalem two cars from the Jerusalem police force were awaiting the arrival of the delegation of two full buses of those celebrating to lead them in ceremony to the site of the Kotel.

    The buses arrived just meters from the stones of the Western Wall Plaza. There awaiting their arrival were Knesset member and former finance minister Yair Lapid, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, many public figures, Holocaust survivors from all over Israel, members of the Kotel Rebbe, and the Rabbi of the Kotel himself, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch; who led the Bar Mitzvah ‘boys’ and Bat Mitzvah ‘girls’ to the special ceremony. Those celebrating their Bar Mitzvah were awarded with ornate tefilin and talitot, and those celebrating their Bat Mitzvah were awarded with scarves and then accompanied to the ladies section of the Kotel, where they watched the Bar Mitzvah ceremony conducted by the two Rabbis. Yair Lapid, who was present throughout the entire event, was honored with the mitzvah of lifting the Sefer Torah. The staff of the Kotel Rebbe broke out into joyful song together with the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau. Next to the two Rabbis stood the spiritual leader of the foundation, Knesset member Yair Lapid, who has been supporting the foundation for years. As such for example, the main building of the foundation in the neighborhood of Hadar in Haifa, was named after his late father, Yosef (Tommy) Lapid.

    The celebration reached its peak with the removal of the Sefer Torah and the Holocaust Survivors each being called up in turn to the Torah, as well as the laying of tefilin and the raising of the Sefer Torah to the sound of powerful singing by the survivors. Then the whole community that was present at the event threw sweets at them and tears of emotion overflowed along the Western Wall, and there wasn’t one person along the entire Kotel from among the hundreds who had congregated around the survivors who didn’t shed a tear. “I have already seen emotional events at the Kotel, and both light and darkness are present at this one, but the sense of hope is undeniable. And here there is tangible evidence for the real eternity of the Jewish People, it has been undoubtedly an extraordinary event”, said the Rabbi of the Kotel at the closing of the event.

    Founder and CEO of the foundation Mr. Shimon Sabag, who awarded a talis, tefilin and a kippah to each Bar Mitzvah ‘boy’ (as is befitting to Bar Mitzvah boys), said at the start of the ceremony: “We have already done many events like this in the past, but this event has been the foundation’s biggest since its establishment approximately two decades ago. We have celebrated a Bar Mitzvah for the survivors because they deserve for this cycle to be completed”.

    The only one as mentioned before, to make it all the way to the Kotel was Knesset member Yair Lapid, who arrived, took part and stayed for the entire ceremony, showing great respect for the event, respect to the Holocaust survivors and indeed to the whole assembly with his presence. One person particularly excited by the gesture was Ms. Chayah Caspi, 82 years old, who was celebrating her Bat Mitzvah 70 years late. “At the moment, I don’t have many words, because I’m so emotional. To hear Rabbi Lau bless us at the Western Wall was a very exciting moment, which is more than a wonderful memory for my life, and in the future for my children and grandchildren”. Caspi, born in Romania, made aliyah to Israel in 1948, when at the age of 12, she was prevented from celebrating a Bat Mitzvah. “Nobody could have imagined then that there would be an event such as this. Around us people were being killed and murdered, so why would we think about celebrating a Bat Mitzvah or Bar Mitzvah for someone.

    87-year old Yaacov Waldman was one of the Bar Mitzvah ‘boys’. At age 13 he was a child in Poland. “I remember that time, we wandered around with family and we searched for a hiding place for ourselves, just to hide, to flee, who thought about a Bar Mitzvah? When the war ended and we had managed to survive, everything around us was destroyed- and also then nobody gave thought to a Bar Mitzvah. Those who went through that hell were not capable of celebrating”. Waldman, who was the third to be called up to the Torah, described that moment as one of the happiest of his life. “I said Kaddish and I blessed the entire people of Israel, also the people who weren’t celebrating and who will no longer celebrate again, who aren’t here with us today, our relatives”.

    Usually Bar Mitzvahs are small, but this time Sabag decided to go big. “We have gone for a big event in order to give them the chance to close the cycle. If the Nazi oppressor stole their youth, then the ceremony today constitutes as a sign that their plan failed.

    Knesset member Yair Lapid told the survivors about his father who was in a ghetto at age 13 and he even he did not manage to carry out his Bar Mitzvah ceremony. “My father was in ghetto Budapest in a crammed basement in which close to six hundred people lived together.  And his Mother- my Grandmother called him over to her and said to him “Tomich, today you will have a Bar Mitzvah. You father won’t come to the Bar Mitzvah and I think he won’t come back ever again. And I can’t bake you a cake, but there is one thing I can do”. And she took out from her bag a small bottle of perfume, ‘Chanel 5’, that she kept during the whole war, G-d knows how, and she smashed the bottle on the floor and said to my father, “At least I can do this so that there won’t be a horrible stench at my boy’s Bar Mitzvah”.

    Immediately after the vibrant ceremony at the Kotel the delegation of around fifty five Holocaust survivors and another ten accompanying volunteers from the foundation who work day and night for the benefit of the Holocaust survivors, set out for the Knesset, where there awaiting them was a tour guiding them through the chamber and the Knesset itself, and after that a meeting with the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein in the ‘Chagall Lounge’ who spoke at length, saying among other things- “I am hosting you all here and for me this is a great privilege, you don’t need to thank me that I am hosting you, on the contrary, I am grateful to all of you that you agreed to be our guests here at the Knesset. You are valuable and important people, we host not a small number of important people here in the Knesset, but this event will be inscribed in memory”.

    He even revealed that he also did not celebrate a Bar Mitzvah in his youth as it was not made possible to him. Director of the foundation Mr. Shimon Sabag, promised immediately with a smile to the Speaker, that the foundation would organize such a ceremony for him, and he saw this as a promise, which he would be very happy to realize. The foundation would be happy to invite him in advance to visit the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ at the foundation in Haifa to carry out for the Speaker of the Knesset a late Bar Mitzvah ceremony.

    At the end of the meeting, Speaker of the Knesset Edlestein awarded special certificates of appreciation and gifts to the happy ‘boys’ and ‘girls’.

    At the event, the celebrators were also joined by Knesset member Dr. Anat Berko and Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan.

    Director of the foundation Shimon Sabag said- “Even at the Bar Mitzvah ceremony of my own son I wasn’t so emotional, we are witnessing the existence of a rare happening of the greatest importance and holiness. It is an event that that the Holocaust survivors were meant to have been able to celebrate as children at age thirteen, that they were prevented from having because they were being pursued by the Nazis and were staying in ghettos and death camps. Those that survived, who stand with us here today at the Western Wall survived the hell of the death camps, remained alive and didn’t celebrate this special event for each Jewish boy and girl. We at the foundation see in this a supremely important and holy objective to carry out this event for them, for their sake and for their families’ sake”. Sabag added to this, emphasizing that- “The whole event was an initiative and a co-operation of the foundation ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ and the Holocaust survivors who together enjoyed a special day that has been etched into their memories and has granted them some added moments of joy, the Holocaust survivors deserve it all. People say- let the Holocaust survivors die with dignity, and I always say exactly the opposite- let them live with dignity. There is no doubt that the event was highly emotional for all of us, with tears shed at the Western Wall plaza, a remnant of our temple”.

    The event was organized wonderfully by the foundation in an exemplary manner, and in the best way possible, as this sort of event is very complicated from a logistical point of view, with a large number of the Holocaust survivors in their senior years, in their 80s and even 90s, travelling by bus, who would normally have a wheelchair and other aids to help them walk.

    One of the Bar Mitzvah ‘boys’, Mordecai (Motke) Lieber, a Holocaust survivor from Poland, told those present, with tears rolling down his face and the faces of those present at the event, his harrowing story about what happened to him at the time of the war and the Holocaust. He struggled to speak, and whilst crying, told of his suffering and of how he stood in the first line opposite the Germans with all his family. His mother asked him that if he survived and lived on, to tell his story to the whole world of what happened to all his family. Motke was the only one to survive from his entire family.

    At the end of the emotional events at the Kotel and at the Knesset, on the way back from the event, all of the survivors and the guests were invited to a sumptuous celebratory meal at Abu Gosh restaurant, and following the meal they returned in the evening to their home in Haifa in song and in great joy, to their beds in the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ foundation.

    The next day, on Tuesday in the evening, hundreds of the celebrating guests, Holocaust survivors and their families assembled for an additional event for a continuation of the luxury Bar Mitzvah celebrations with a sumptuous dinner at the ‘Oranim’ halls in Haifa. The evening was graceful and in good taste according to friend of the foundation, journalist Yoni Halali. The evening began with a blessing from the foundation’s Rabbi, Rabbi Yaacov Maman, who blessed the Bar Mitzvah ‘boys’ and ‘girls’. After that founder and director of the foundation Mr. Shimon Sabag, went up to bless all the happy Holocaust survivors, thanked all the foundation’s employees and volunteers who helped greatly in the success of the Bar Mitzvah event in the best way possible, and pointed out that without them, an event like this could not have happened.

    Mr. Sabag awarded three shields of ‘Social Justice’ on behalf of the foundation, first to Ms. Yudit Setz, assistant manager of the welfare department of the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, which provides support each day of the year for the welfare of the Holocaust survivors at the foundation. A second shield was awarded to Holocaust survivor Ms. Chavah Herskowitz, who is herself a resident of the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’, as well as a senior volunteer, in recognition of her efforts and limitless devotion to the Holocaust survivors in the foundation. A further shield to friend of the foundation Mr. Yoni Halali, who works day and night for the benefit of the Holocaust survivors at the foundation, and who has contributed a lot to the organization and to the success of its Bar Mitzvah project for the Holocaust survivors at the Kotel and the Knesset.

    The event took place in the presence of many guests, among them the many employees and volunteers of the foundation, including the foundation’s loyal secretary Ms. Tami Sinar, Baruch Sabag, manager of the branch of the foundation in the city of Katzrin in the north, also social worker Ms. Amit Shaked, the foundation’s security officer Mr. Yisrael Cohen, senior security guard Mr. Reuben Frizi, who has helped on an entirely voluntary basis at all the foundation’s events since it was first founded, the senior and very first volunteer of the foundation, Aryeh Bronstein, Giora and his son, the Sabag family, the Halali family, the foundation’s lawyer Yigal Daninu, the accountant Galina, the foundation’s cook Shimon Hen, the American volunteer Philip Adams, manageress of the social club Ms. Nomi Iluz, Triyah Hiltonen the medical nurse, the volunteer from Finland, Mali Cohen and her daughter who helped greatly in the success of the Bar Mitzvah event, the foundation’s driver Marcelo Kibrik, and many other good people.

    On the artistic side was comedienne Dinah Or, who managed to make everyone present laugh a great deal during her performance with sharp wit and a fine brand of humor. And on the musical side the jazz band, who stirred up the evening, in which all the Holocaust survivors joined in with dancing.

    Those were two consecutive evenings filled with the most considerable emotion, during which not one eye stayed dry, hundreds of people who were present at the event were able to swear that they witnessed the stones of the Western Wall crying. We wish from all of us to all the Bar Mitzvah ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ a hearty Mazel Tov, it was truly exciting, may we always meet in joy!

    Enormous photo gallery for the website: Joe Luciano, Roman Levingrad , Reuven Frizi

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