Helping Hand Coalition reopens the Caesarea Villa, HHC’s Headquarters, to host weekly Shalom House events with local survivors of the Holocaust.
After a year of irregular meetings and events, Helping Hand Coalition is thrilled to reopen its headquarters in hopes to reacquaint and build stronger relationships with the local survivors of the Holocaust living in Or Akiva — the city where it all began! With 470 survivors currently living in the area and an influx of grocery gift cards to distribute, Andre Gasiorowski, Chairman and Founder of Helping Hand Coalition, had the initiative to use the Shalom House Project as a way of getting the vouchers to the survivors while also using the opportunity to share about the work HHC is doing and re-establish personal relationships with each of the survivors.
On October 21st, a golden fall day with clear skies and leaves gently falling all around, the HHC Caesarea Villa was abuzz with activity as twenty survivors arrived to enjoy the afternoon’s event and renew their membership with HHC Global Forum. Thrilled to be back after so long apart, the survivors’ faces were bright with excitement as they were welcomed at the door by Andre, Bozena, Luke, and Sarah Gasiorowski, along with special guests, Dr.Tamara Kolitz, Hava Bar-Shay Glass, and Boris Sobolev.
Once everyone had taken their seats, Andre welcomed the survivors, sharing his joy at seeing many familiar faces, before beginning his presentation. Showing a five-minute video with highlights of events and special moments captured in the last fifteen years, the room responded with a round of applause as a wave of fresh hope washed over each survivor as they watched what’s been done and listened to Andre’s explanation of what is still to come.
Also present and invited to share about her work was Dr.Tamara Kolitz, Founder of LeMa’anman, an organization founded in April 2020 to provide medical support and care via house calls, clinic visits, and telemedicine to survivors of the Holocaust living in Israel. With more than 800 skilled physicians in every field of expertise and 1,300 paramedics volunteering their time, the organization has treated over 1,000 survivors and received more than 8,000 calls in the last year! Having recently connected with Helping Hand Coalition, Dr.Tamara also expressed her enthusiasm to start a cooperation and partnership with HHC to support the maximum number of survivors of the Holocaust.
Bringing humor to the afternoon, Boris Sobolev, stepped away from filming the event to share an original satire which caused the room to erupt in laughter. Setting the mood to feel more open, the survivors began asking questions, sharing life stories, and expressing their gratitude towards Helping Hand Coalition and partners.
Before inviting the survivors to eat the delectable meal provided by a local chef, Orly Elya, Bozena Gasiorowski, Director of the Shalom House Project, shared a summary of the event. She explained that even though she couldn’t understand all that was shared, seeing the smiles on the survivors’ faces warmed her heart and made her feel honored to welcome the survivors once again back to the Shalom House.
Taking advantage of the perfect weather, the survivors finished lunch and adjourned to the villa’s outdoor seating area, savoring the view and company as tea and coffee were served and conversation filled the air. Before the survivors’ bus returned to take them home, the grocery vouchers were handed out to each person.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to our German sponsors, Christen an der Seite Israels and Jewish Voice International, for making these projects possible and providing the funds for the grocery cards, and organizing such events. Your desire to rewrite history and bless Israel and the survivors is bringing change, and we are so grateful to you!
Helping Hand Coalition looks forward to its new relationship with LeMa’anman, along with the opportunity to host weekly Shalom Houses so more survivors can come and spend the afternoon with those who have a heart to serve them. Thank you to Orly Elya for catering the event, Luke and Sarah Gasiorowski for all of their support and work, Boris Sobolev for filming the event and sharing, and everyone else in attendance!