Evie’s Rosh Hashanah poem for Holocaust survivors

14 Sep 2021

11-year-old Evie Bernstein has written a poem for Rosh Hashanah which she has dedicated to Holocaust survivors. Evie personally delivered cards with her poem and a Rosh Hashanah package to Holocaust survivors Rachel Levy BEM and Ivor Perl BEM, who are members of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre and live at Jewish Care’s Selig Court Retirement Living apartments in Golders Green.

Evie, who is a pupil at JFS, was inspired to write poetry by her Papa, who also writes poetry. Having read about the Holocaust and learnt about it at school she wanted to learn more as part of her Bat Mitzvah preparations. Evie will be 12 in October and plans to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah in March at Shenley United Synagogue.

She says, "I was so touched to meet Rachel and Ivor who survived the Holocaust and are still living to talk about their experiences and I’m happy that I could send my poem to the members of the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre."

Speaking to Evie, Ivor Perl’s advice echoes the words in her poem, "You get much further with love than with hate," he told her.

Evie’s mum, Elise Bernstein, says, “I am so proud that Evie has chosen to learn more about the Holocaust. It so important for us and especially for the next generation to be able to share the message and never to forget what the Holocaust survivors lived through. They are incredible people who keep on inspiring us.”

The Rosh Hashanah packages to members of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre members include two challahs, honey cake, grape juice, chocolates and the beautiful poem written by Evie.  The packages have been prepared and delivered by Jewish Care’s volunteers together with volunteers from the intergenerational charity JOY (Joining Old and Young) and Milly Days, who have helped fund and run the outreach project.

Jewish Care’s Director of Fundraising and Community Engagement, Adam Overlander-Kaye, said, “It is so inspiring that Evie has written the poem for members of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre as part of her Bat Mitzvah learning and that she has connected with the Holocaust survivors.

“Young people have so much to give to our community, especially when they have the opportunity to engage with older people. I would like to thank Evie and also all of Jewish Care and JOY volunteers, together with Milly Days, who made it possible to deliver the packages for Rosh Hashanah.”

Since Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre resumed in-person activities again  in August, many of the members of have been delighted to be back together to enjoy the programme of stimulating activities from Monday to Thursday at the Centre’s new location at Jewish Care’s Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Campus in Golders Green.

 Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre is the only place of its kind anywhere in the UK where more than 500 survivors and refugees are supported through a specific programme of social, cultural and therapeutic activities, in the care homes and retirement living apartments.  The programme includes Yiddish, social groups, speakers and entertainment together with tasty, warm Kosher food and of course tea and cake. The Shalvata service, with its specialist team offering counselling and social work support, is there for those dealing with trauma. Many survivors who attend the centre have built strong friendships there and say they consider it a “home” where they can share experiences with those who understand what they have been through.

For young people interested in finding out more about connecting with older people supported by Jewish Care across the organisation’s care homes, community centres and in the community, please contact rmiller@jcare.org