Marking Yom HaShoah at Jewish Care

21 Apr 2020

Residents across Jewish Care homes marked Yom HaShoah and the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and liberation of Bergen-Belsen this year by lighting candles and holding commemorative services. Many residents were able to follow Rabbi Junik, Jewish Care’s Spiritual and Pastoral Advisor, who led virtual prayers with El Malei Rachamim and Kaddish online.

This year had a slightly different take on a usual commemoration, as many of our members have previously lived through other types of isolation or restrictions on movement.

Moshe Teller is one of the therapists at Shalvata, the therapeutic service at Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre (HSC). He spoke and took questions as part of a virtual panel for Yom HaShoah held together with Alyth Synagogue’s Rabbi Colin Eimer. This was open to the community to attend. They discussed the work of the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre with the Survivor community and the second generation.

Moshe says, “Being in lockdown and isolated brings up, for many, the memory of what they have gone through. The support is always here so that our members can talk about their experiences and we are proactively supporting survivors, providing the same support on the phone or on Skype, when people are feeling so isolated.

“As survivors are growing older, they have the opportunity to seek help. I’ve had the privilege to work with survivors at the Centre for many years and it’s about having the opportunity to have a talk about whatever they want to have a chat about. Some survivors use images and others, writing to talk about their experiences.

“Many survivors don’t want to talk about their experiences in the Shoah because they want to protect their children, many children don’t want to upset their parents by raising it. So, it’s important that we provide a safe space where they can talk to each other.

“There is also survivor’s guilt that we see a lot and it’s important to support our members and emphasise that we should celebrate surviving, the continuation of the Jewish people and the creation of the next generation.”

Their session finished by reciting El Malei Rachamim and Kaddish.