by Sergio Carmona
Florida Jewish News
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany has allocated thousands of dollars for South Florida Jewish social service agencies to benefit the Holocaust survivors they serve.
Each year, the Claims Conference – which represents the world’s Jews in negotiating for
compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs – allocates the monies one week before International Holocaust Remembrance Day for the annual grant.
Both Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family Service in West Palm Beach and Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services in Boca Raton are jointly receiving $16.4 million from the Claims Conference.
The bulk of the funds are to pay for in-home care and help with activities of daily living for Holocaust survivors, such as bathing and meal preparation. A portion of the funds also pay for care management staff who coordinate care for each survivor, emergency financial assistance, counseling, as well as socialization events.
Danielle Hartman, president and chief executive officer of Rales JFS, which is receiving $9 million this year, said, “Many survivors are living well in to their 100′s, which means they require more care.”
“Without the significant funds provided to our organizations by the Claims Conference, supplemented by what we raise locally, we would be unable to support the growing need,” Hartman continued.
Hartman also noted, “The significance of the date on which we get funded by the Claims Conference is a way to send a strong message that we will never forget what happened in the Holocaust and our organizations will always be here for our local Holocaust survivor community.”
Marc Hopin, CEO for Alpert JFS which is is receiving $7.4 million, said, “Our agency is grateful to the Claims Conference for its continuous advocacy on behalf of Holocaust survivors.” “This includes the work that they do to remind the world to never forget what happened during the Holocaust, so that it never happens again,” Hopin continued.
Hopin noted that the agency has received funds from the Claims Conference to help it with its mission of assisting Holocaust survivors since 1995.
“The Claims Conference and Germany have shown unprecedented flexibility in how we use these funds, enabling our agency to provide vital support services including home care, food, medicine, transportation and programs to alleviate social isolation,” he continued. “During
the pandemic, we were able to redirect funds to the most critically needed services. We even received funds to assist Holocaust survivors with receiving their COVID vaccines.”
Evelyn Grapek, an Alpert JFS client, said in a news release, “As a Holocaust survivor, Alpert Jewish Family Service has become my extended family.” “Their services provide me with a lifeline of essential support that I could not get anywhere else,” Grapek continued.
Goodman Jewish Family Services of Broward County is receiving $23 million from the Claims Conference. Randy Colman, Goodman JFS’ new president and CEO, said, “We’re very blessed and very fortunate.”
“Each year we take care of over 900 survivors in Broward County,” he said. Colman said a large portion of the money will be provided for medical care for the survivors. He said the money is critical at this time.
“Each year, some survivors unfortunately pass away just based on their age, but those who continue to survive require more and more assistance as they continue to age,” he said. “It’s so important that we continue to provide them the service they need so they can have some quality of life, dignity and respect in their latter years.”
Miriam Singer, president and CEO for Jewish Community Services of South Florida in Miami, said the agency is “humbled to serve as a compassionate safety-net for our community’s treasured Holocaust survivors.”
“Providing compassionate case management and supportive services to survivors is one of the pillars of our social services agency,” Singer continued. “JCS provides in-home care, nutrition assistance, financial support, advocacy and a broad array of life-sustaining services to our clients. As survivors age, their needs continue to increase.” Singer added, “We are so very grateful to have received $16,617,478 for Holocaust survivor care and $85,000 for emergency grant funding from the Claims Conference so our survivors may live their lives with a high standard of quality and dignity.”