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JFS Central to receive historic Shoa grant
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JFS Central to receive historic Shoa grant

Federations spearhead U.S. program funding special survivor care

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Jewish Family Service of Central NJ is among 23 organizations around the country selected to receive federal grants to provide innovative care to traumatized Holocaust survivors.

Jewish Federations of North America announced the distribution of $2.8 million in grants to the organizations through its Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care

The inaugural cohort of grantees will provide innovative person-centered trauma-informed (PCTI) supportive services to Holocaust survivors in the United States. When combined with matching funds required by the grant, the initial awards will result in over $4.5 million in new programing for survivor services. 

The award will enable $341,253 in new programming for survivors in the Central NJ area, JFS said in a statement.

“JFSCNJ provides so many services for the people in need in our community there is no greater task then helping our elderly survivors who are in need,” said Michael Gottlieb, past JFS president. “As a second generation board member, and the child of survivors, I am very proud to be associated with an agency that does so much good work.”

“As a child of survivors who were able to come to America and be successful I feel it is our obligation to help those who survived but continue to struggle on a day to day basis,” said JFS board member Eric Harvitt, vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and a child of Holocaust survivors.

JFS is a partner agency of the Greater MetroWest federation. (A separate federation agency, JFS of MetroWest, also provides services for survivors.)

The grants mark the first time that the federal government has provided direct funding for services for survivors of the Shoa. 

“Taking care of Holocaust survivors, ensuring that they have their physical and emotional needs met, is of the utmost importance and a fully attainable goal if we continue to work together,” said Mark Wilf, chair of Jewish Federations of North America’s National Holocaust Survivor Initiative, an effort to raise $45 million to address the needs of survivors.

The initiative links support from federations; foundations; private citizens; and federal, state, and local governments to help aging Holocaust survivors live with dignity and security in the comfort of their communities. The initiative includes a $45 million fund-raising campaign; the local funding awarded this week comes from the federal funding plus philanthropic dollars raised through the federations’ campaign. 

“I’m so pleased that the federal government has partnered with JFNA and Jewish communities to assist survivors of the Holocaust to live their lives with dignity,” said Max Kleinman of Livingston, who served as a consultant on the initiative for JFNA.

“The grant and philanthropic matching requirements for 2016 will help us achieve our national fund-raising goal of $45 million, for which we have currently raised over $27.5 million,” said Kleinman, the immediate past executive vice president/CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. “The second year of federal funding has already been approved, providing even more resources to help survivors for next year. The Greater MetroWest federation has been a stalwart supporter of our efforts.”

JFNA launched the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care in the fall of 2015, following an award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for up to $12 million over five years. 

Of the more than 100,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States, nearly one quarter are 85 or older, and one in four lives in poverty, according to a news release announcing the grants. Many live alone and are at risk for social isolation, depression, and other physical and mental health conditions stemming from periods of starvation, disease, and torture.

PCTI care is a holistic approach that incorporates knowledge about the role of trauma in victims’ lives into agency programs, policies, and procedures.

The grants are a collaboration with the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The family and children’s agencies provide direct services to Holocaust survivors across the continent, and the Claims Conference negotiates compensation and restitution and allocates funds to institutions that provide social welfare services to Holocaust victims.

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