Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorates the 6 million Jews and millions of others killed in the Holocaust and honors the heroism of survivors and rescuers. This year, Holocaust Remembrance Day begins on April 17th at sunset and ends on April 18th at sunset. And although Yom HaShoah looks to highlight the Holocaust victims of Nazi Germany, the ideologies the day stands for encompasses all of humanity and what it stands for.
This day holds significant meaning for Jews worldwide, providing another opportunity to recall this tragic time in our history and reminding us to do what we can to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.
Jews in North America observe Yom HaShoah within the synagogue and in the broader Jewish community. Commemorations range from synagogue services to communal vigils and educational programs.
Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) honors those lives lost and supports our community’s local survivors. Through our guiding principles: Kehila – building community; Tzedakah – doing what is right and just; Tikkun Olam – repairing the world; and Gemilut Chasadim – acts of kindness, JFCS strengthens our community and ensures the continuity of generations to come.
JFCS counselors and caseworkers provide case management and advocacy for Holocaust survivors in the Greater Phoenix area. Caseworkers assist with applications to the Claims Conference, also known as the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, for reparations and home care services. Team members also assist with applications to organizations such as KAVOD and The Blue Card for emergency financial assistance, and the Henry Schein Oral Health Program for free dental services.
When JFCS first launched its Holocaust Survivor Services program, the biggest hurdle was learning how to submit claims on behalf of survivors. Unlike other communities, we had no formal connection to the various organizations, so there were no relationships with staff and very little guidance on their application processes.
Now in its 23rd year, the JFCS Holocaust Survivor Services program has built a strong relationship with the Claims Conference and has great support from JFCS of Southern Arizona, the organization that provides guidance and support for the management of home care services.
When challenges have risen, the community rallied together. When a new reparation was made available through the “German Pensions for Work in Ghettos Law” (often shortened to “ZRBG”), JFCS staff joined together with local law firms as part of a national effort to assist Holocaust survivors in applying for this reparation. About 40 survivors in the Greater Phoenix area received case management from JFCS and pro bono legal assistance when completing their applications.
It is an honor to work with and provide support to our local Holocaust survivor community. And as the needs of the aging survivor community have increased over the years, so has the group of survivors the team serves. JFCS’ support of the Holocaust survivor community now extends far beyond Maricopa County. The Holocaust Survivors Services team works with 40 to 50 Holocaust survivors throughout Arizona each year.
Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization that strengthens the community by providing behavioral health, healthcare and social services to all ages, faiths and backgrounds. JFCS’ goal is for a future where families are strong, elders are cared for and children are safe. The dedication to the mission is strengthened by a commitment to core Jewish values that honor community and the continuity of the generations. More information about JFCS and its Holocaust Survivors Services, please visit: https://www.jfcsaz.org/our-services/jewish-community-services/holocaust-survivor-services/
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