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Aging

Supporting Holocaust Survivors: “Barry’s” Story

By AgeWell Atlanta, Aging, CARING, COMMUNITY, GLOBAL JEWRY, People in Need, PHILANTHROPY

by Cherie Aviv, Chair, Holocaust Survivor Support Fund

“Barry,” (his name has been changed for privacy) grew up in a loving Jewish home attending synagogue, observing Shabbat, playing dreidel, and eating Jewish foods. But when the National Socialists came to power and enforced Nazi rule, Barry was forced to wear a yellow star, quit school, leave home, and was transported by train to Auschwitz. By jumping off the train, and not getting caught or killed, he hid in the forest and used his skills, determination, and drive to survive. His family was not as fortunate and the horrors of that period left a mark on him, as it did on all Holocaust survivors.

Survivors of the Holocaust like Barry deserve to live out their lives comfortably, with dignity and support. Barry made a life for himself in Atlanta. As his health deteriorated, without family to care for him, financial resources to meet Barry’s needs became paramount. Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) provided case management and The Holocaust Survivor Support Fund (HSSF) provided funds so he could live his remaining days respectably and not alone, with a caregiver at his side. HSSF also provided Barry with grocery food gift cards, medical assistance, prescription assistance, and transportation help.

HSSF, convened by Federation, provides funds to meet the needs of Holocaust survivors, like Barry, as they get older and to supplement Claims Conference funds from Germany that are sent to social service agencies, in this case JF&CS. Claims Conference funds are insufficient to meet the needs of Barry and others like him, making HSSF support vital.

To support this important outreach: https://jewishatlanta.org/give/donate/

Our Responsibility
Holocaust survivors have a short window to receive this precious care. It is an act of community responsibility and an expression of the Jewish value of chesed (loving kindness) to care for the final generation of survivors who are still with us. As dollars deminish, our support for HSSF provides this very special population the opportunity to live their remaining years as fully as possible and with dignity.

Who does HSSF Support?
In Georgia, at least 218 of the 277 Holocaust survivors receive financial, social, reparations assistance, or support services. Of these 218, two thirds receive some type of financial assistance. Beginning in Fall 2020, HSSF funds also supported survivors in remote locations in the southeast that are served through JF&CS-Atlanta.

Needs are growing
The needs of survivors are growing as they age. The average survivor age is 86. More than 25 percent of survivors receiving financial support have annual incomes that fall below the Federal Poverty Level.
HSSF has allocated over $1.5 million for survivors through March 2021. This year alone, we project the financial need provided by HSSF to grow by 33 percent.
Supporting HSSF helps provide:

  •  Home-delivered meals — this has a significant impact by providing peace of mind and the comfort of a reliable food source.
  •  Grocery gift cards to improve survivors’ physical health by giving them access to more nutritious food options, and easing concerns about having enough food, which can be a source of anxiety.
  •  Prescription assistance, which takes a huge toll on survivors who may face large co-pays and often are on multiple expensive medications.
  •  Homecare, which provides the greatest need to help survivors with activities of daily living, from bathing, assistance with food intake and basic human needs.
  •  And much more…

HSSF, convened by Federation, is a partnership of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Jewish Family & Career Services, Jewish HomeLife Communities, The Breman Museum, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, and Eternal Life-Hemshech to meet the increased needs of homecare, health care, social services, assisted living support, and financial assistance for Holocaust survivors in our community.

To support this important outreach https://jewishatlanta.org/give/donate/
To learn more about HSSF visit, https://jewishatlanta.org/give/philanthropic-opportunities/hssf/

Resources for Holocaust Survivors

By Aging, CARING, COMMUNITY

We are very proud to announce that Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta has been selected to be part of a national grant that expands national capacity to provide Person-Centered, Trauma Informed (PCTI) care to Holocaust survivors, other older adults with a history of trauma, and their family caregivers. Atlanta was one of just 10 Federations invited to apply for funding.

Rich Walter, Federation’s VP of Programs and Grantmaking said, “Supporting Holocaust survivors and other victims of trauma has never been more necessary than during the current pandemic. This grant will enable us to not only provide crucial support to these populations but to their caregivers as well. It builds on the great work being done in our community through Holocaust Survivor Support Fund, led by Cherie Aviv, and AgeWell Atlanta as we continue to put forward a coordinated model of care and support.”

The grant offers the opportunity for invited Jewish Federations to:

• Serve more Holocaust survivors
• Develop new partnerships with agencies that work with traumatized older populations and their family caregivers
• Facilitate and foster the innovation and expansion of PCTI services
• Share promising practices in community-building and PCTI care on a national level

Young Adults “Serve the Moment” for Older Adults

By Aging, CARING, COMMUNITY, People in Need

Following a highly successful summer of service, Atlanta’s Serve the Moment program has now mobilized a fall cohort of young adults to address the COVID-19 crisis, its economic fallout, and the movement for racial justice here in Atlanta.

Sarah Arogeti is one of the cohort members, and she has chosen to serve through virtual visits with older adults who have been living socially isolated lives at two Jewish HomeLife residences, Berman Commons, and the William Breman Jewish Home. Due to COVID-19, Jewish HomeLife residences have not allowed visitors for many months and are only beginning to facilitate limited socially distanced in-person family visits in outdoor spaces.

Cory Shaw, who manages volunteers for Jewish HomeLife Communities, was skeptical at first. “I had my reservations about how effective virtual visits would be, but Sarah has made it a ‘natural thing.’ She has jumped in and asked our residents lots of questions about their families, where they grew up, memories of great places they’ve traveled, and helped them feel ‘connected’ and appreciative of their lives. The impact has been HUGE!  in just her first six days Sarah visited with 18 residents — only two were repeat visits. Serve the Moment’s “get-to-know-you visits” have been a wonderful antidote to feelings of isolation and loneliness.”

Serve the Moment received $60,000 to run a Summer and Fall Service Corps with Repair the World, and is now working with more than 15 service partners.

 

Anyone Can Be A Philanthropic Champion

By AgeWell Atlanta, Aging, Atlanta Jewish Foundation, CARING, COMMUNITY, JEWISH JOURNEYS

Anyone Can Be A Philanthropic Champion 
By Etta Raye Hirsch

One of the best things that has happened in Jewish Atlanta is the consolidation of resources that make life better for older adults. Finally, with AgeWell Atlanta, we’ve pulled together all the supportive programs of Jewish Family & Career Services, the care of Jewish HomeLife, and the social opportunities of the MJCCA, into one entity. It took guidance from Federation to spearhead the effort, but the result is a much-needed coordination of services that makes me really proud! 

With the pandemic, our older population is struggling as never before. If you don’t make it easy for people to find the help they need, they give up. Now through AgeWell Atlanta, if you’re a caregiver or an older adult needing help, you just dial one number 1-866-AGEWELL and you can speak to a real live person who can guide you to the right resources. It’s just what our community needs now.  

For me, philanthropy is both a habit and a family imperative. Our family foundation is something my grown children are involved with as decision-makers, and something my grandkids are becoming well aware of. If you want to know how to leave your necklace to a family member, your attorney or financial advisor can set that up. But if you want to truly be a change agent, become an investor in the things you really care about. You can be a philanthropist at any level! 
I give to a wide range of nonprofits in our region, yet I rely on experts to advise me on my gifts. In truth, Atlanta Jewish Foundation (AJF) has educated me about opportunities I didn’t even know existed. I’m almost embarrassed to mention this, but I was “old” before I even knew what a donor-advised fund (DAF) was! Now I use my DAF as a tool for making grants and I want everyone to know about them. We have to say to folks, “Let’s make philanthropy easy for you.  

Atlanta Jewish Foundation makes it simple to support AgeWell Atlanta, and other older adult supportive programs, through your donor-advised fund. The Foundation can also guide you on how you can make long-term “legacy” commitments through the Jewish Future Pledge and the LIFE & LEGACY program. Both are vehicles to build up endowment reserves in our synagogues, schools, and organizations, to sustain their future. I’m on board!  

There are many ways you can donate, but why not do it through AJF? I can make grants online, or just call the Foundation and say, “Here’s where I want my gift to go, and they take care of it. They have the right people with the right skills and relationships to connect the dots and really amp up your impact.  

Etta Raye Hirsch was Atlanta Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2019 Philanthropist of the Year. She currently serves as Honorary Chair of Federation’s AgeWell Atlanta Targeted Philanthropy giving opportunity.   

 

Be a Champion for Older Adults!

By AgeWell Atlanta, Aging, CARING, COMMUNITY, People in Need

Be a Champion for Older Adults!  
By Etta Raye Hirsch 

One of the best things that has happened in Jewish Atlanta is the consolidation of resources that make life better for older adults. Finally, with AgeWell Atlanta, we’ve pulled together all the supportive programs of Jewish Family & Career Services, the care of Jewish HomeLife, and the social opportunities of the MJCCA, into one entity. It took guidance from Federation to spearhead the effort, but the result is a much-needed coordination of services that makes me really proud! 

With the pandemic, our older population is struggling as never before. If you don’t make it easy for people to find the help they need, they give up. Now through AgeWell Atlanta, if you’re a caregiver or an older adult needing help, you just dial one number 1-866-AGEWELL and you can speak to a real live person who can guide you to the right resources. It’s just what our community needs now.  

For me, philanthropy is both a habit and a family imperative. Our family foundation is something my grown children are involved with as decision-makers, and something my grandkids are becoming well aware of. If you want to know how to leave your necklace to a family member, your attorney or financial advisor can set that up. But if you want to truly be a change agent, become an investor in the things you really care about. You can be a philanthropist at any level! 

 I give to a wide range of nonprofits in our region, yet I rely on experts to advise me on my gifts. In truth, Atlanta Jewish Foundation (AJF) has educated me about opportunities I didn’t even know existed. I’m almost embarrassed to mention this, but I was “old” before I even knew what a donor-advised fund (DAF) was! Now I use my DAF as a tool for making grants and I want everyone to know about them. We have to say to folks,“Let’s make philanthropy easy for you.”  

Atlanta Jewish Foundation makes it simple to support AgeWell Atlanta, and other older adult supportive programs, through your donor-advised fund. The Foundation can also guide you on how you can make long-term “legacy” commitments through the Jewish Future Pledge and the LIFE & LEGACY program. Both are vehicles to build up endowment reserves in our synagogues, schools, and organizations, to sustain their future. I’m on board!  

There are many ways you can donate, but why not do it through AJF? I can make grants online, or just call the Foundation and say, “Here’s where I want my gift to go,and they take care of it.”They have the right people with the right skills and relationships to connect the dots and really amp up your impact.  

 Etta Raye Hirsch was Atlanta Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2019 Philanthropist of the Year. She currently serves as Honorary Chair of Federation’s AgeWell Atlanta Targeted Philanthropy giving opportunity.   

Virtual Programming Brings Laughs and Light

By Aging, CARING, COMMUNITY


Meryl (not her real name) lost her husband last December. Then came COVID-19. Amidst all the grief came loneliness and isolation. Now, virtual programming through AgeWell Atlanta and the MJCCA has become a lifeline, bringing connection and consistency to her routine. “I really, really enjoy the programs that you schedule and that I participate in,” Meryl said. “This time of the COVID-19 pandemic makes life so challenging. I live by myself since my husband passed away. I do go to the grocery store, but I try to only go there about every 2 weeks.”

Virtual programs bring laughs, too. “The Improv class has been freeing! It has provided a nonjudgmental, positive forum for me to be creative and have some laughs.  This class has been the perfect antidote for the dark times we are living in due to the pandemic. I leave energized after every class.”

No wonder what used to be Senior Day has now blossomed into Senior Week, made possible by AgeWell Atlanta and its partnerstheMarcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and Jewish HomeLife.Senior Week will offer five consecutive days of adult virtual programming, November 9-13, from 3-4 pm.  The theme is Jewish Culture Around the World and the whole week’s events are free! To get the Zoom links and RSVP, email Ashley Maloy at amaloy@jfcsatl.org, or Barbara Vahaba at barbara.vahaba@atlantajcc.org

Monday, November 9 – The Jews of Spain: Past, Present and Future: The history of the Jews of Spain is a remarkable story. Moises Hassan, a specialist in Jewish history of Spain, will trace the 2000 years of Spanish Jewry and discuss whether their future will be as turbulent as their past.

Tuesday, November 10 – Growing up in Israel: Local Atlanta Shinshinim, Israeli high school graduates taking a gap year before their military service, will discuss their thoughts on serving in the Army as well as their individual COVID-19 experiences in Israel. Plus hear about how Israel’s COVID measures have impacted the political environment.

Wednesday, November 11 – THE JEWISH GHETTO IN VENICE: For centuries, the Venetian economy was based primarily on trade and the city became a melting pot of different cultures. In 1516 the Jews were the only group to be granted their own quarter. Guide Laura Sabbadin will share the fascinating history of Venetian prejudice and hospitality.

Thursday, November 12 – Jewish Artists in the Atlanta High Museum Collection: Laurel Humble, Head of Creative Aging and Lifelong Learning at the High Museum, will talk about Jewish artists in the American and Modern/Contemporary collection areas highlighting works by Camille Pissarro, Amadeo Modigliani, and Ben Shahn, who were part of important art movements in the last two centuries.

Friday, November 13 – A Musical Finale: Well-known Yiddish singer Alejandra Czarny will treat the audience to a selection of Yiddish songs and original selections. Originally from Argentina, Alejandra has performed throughout Europe and the Americas and has recorded three CDs of Yiddish music.

Young Adults “Serve the Moment” For Older Adults

By Aging, CARING, COMMUNITY, People in Need

Following a highly successful summer of service, Atlanta’s Serve the Moment program has now mobilized a fall cohort of young adults to address the COVID-19 crisis, its economic fallout, and the movement for racial justice here in Atlanta.

Sarah Arogeti is one of the cohort members, and she has chosen to serve through virtual visits with older adults who have been living socially isolated lives at two Jewish HomeLife residences, Berman Commons, and the William Breman Jewish Home. Due to COVID-19, Jewish HomeLife residences have not allowed visitors for many months and are only beginning to facilitate limited socially distanced in-person family visits in outdoor spaces.

Cory Shaw, who manages volunteers for Jewish HomeLife Communities, was skeptical at first. “I had my reservations about how effective virtual visits would be, but Sarah has made it a ‘natural thing.’ She has jumped in and asked our residents lots of questions about their families, where they grew up, memories of great places they’ve traveled, and helped them feel ‘connected’ and appreciative of their lives. The impact has been HUGE! in just her first six days Sarah visited with 18 residents — only two were repeat visits. Serve the Moment’s “get-to-know-you visits” have been a wonderful antidote to feelings of isolation and loneliness.”

Serve the Moment received $60,000 to run a Summer and Fall Service Corps with Repair the World, and is now working with more than 15 service partners.

Meals for Homebound Holocaust Survivors

By Aging, CARING, COMMUNITY, People in Need

Thanks to a partnership with The Epstein School cafeteria, JF&CS was able to deliver free prepared meals to Holocaust Survivors and low-income house-bound older adults, many of whom wondered where they would find their next meal. Anat Granath, a Social Worker with the Holocaust Survivor Program, says that although they were reluctant to use the Kosher Food Pantry service at first, many have found the program to be extremely helpful. 

“Many Holocaust Survivors used to have caregivers, but because of the virus they are asking their caregivers not to come. So, there’s really nobody to shop for them, and many of them don’t have children or family members that live close by that they can rely on food delivery on a regular basis.” Granath also emphasizes the importance of food security to Holocaust Survivors. “I think sometimes, even just knowing that somebody tells you ‘you won’t go hungry again,’ we can’t underestimate what that means to a client who has felt hunger for many, many years. And many of them are benefiting from the Kosher Food Pantry, which is wonderful,” she said.  

Many of Granath’s clients have expressed their appreciation and gratitude for both the food that JF&CS has provided to them, and for the feeling that someone in the world is thinking of them and taking care of them. As the pandemic continues, the need continues to grow for food and supplies. Thankfully, our community has stepped up to help.  

Last year, over a 12-month period, 1,931 people were helped by the Kosher Food Pantry, and 17,500 pounds of food was distributed. This year, in the period between March 13 and July 3, 2020, 2,882 people were served, and 66,469 pounds of food were distributed. That’s the equivalent of three years’ worth of food distributed in four months  

JF&CS received an allocation $40K from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for food support. 

Sparking Conversations to Leave a Legacy

By Aging, Atlanta Jewish Foundation, CARING, LIFE & LEGACY, PHILANTHROPY

Sparking Conversations to Leave a Legacy
Fueled by a lifetime of volunteerism, fundraising and Jewish community advocacy, Stephanie Abes found it easy to say “yes” when asked to represent Federation Women’s Philanthropy in the LIFE & LEGACY® initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. LIFE & LEGACY, now in its second year in Atlanta, provides training, support and incentives to secure endowments for Atlanta’s Jewish future.

“It was the right time in my life to help spark and steer conversations with my peers about leaving a legacy gift to our community,” Stephanie says.  “As I’ve progressed in my commitments as a Jewish woman, I can see that all I’ve worked for over the years leads to this. There are so many motivations to support LIFE & LEGACY. When I see the outstanding education my grandchildren enjoyed in our Jewish day schools, and as I watch my grown children step up and serve on the boards of our backbone agencies, I want all these organizations to be strong and sustainable going forward. It’s up to me and my family to ensure that these Jewish institutions continue for future generations.”

LIFE & LEGACY is a joint venture between Atlanta Jewish Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation with a goal to build robust endowments that will support the financial future of Atlanta’s synagogues, day schools, and core Jewish organizations. Currently, 18 different Atlanta Jewish organizations are in training with fundraising professionals from LIFE & LEGACY, learning how identify potential donors and have values-based conversations with them to secure legacy commitments to the places they care about most. By participating in these trainings, Stephanie has discovered there are many ways to leave a legacy.

Abes underscores that anyone can make a legacy gift, not just the wealthy. “LIFE & LEGACY gifts can be after lifetime gifts, enabling the donor to give more than they ever thought possible during their lifetime.  The trainings have opened my eyes to the many options that exist for planning and ultimately committing to a legacy gift.  For example, a person can designate a portion of their IRA to organizations they care about so they can continue doing their amazing work into the future.”

Stephanie was moved by a story presented in training of a woman with modest assets. The woman wanted to support her synagogue’s future but didn’t think she had the means. She realized that her small condo was a possible resource, so she checked in with her kids to ask if, upon her death, making that asset a legacy gift was OK with them. Her children let her know that they’d be fine if she did it.

“Stories like that give me the tools to open up conversations with friends about making a legacy gift. I tell them, I’m not your financial planner, but through Atlanta Jewish Foundation, you can get the advice you need. They can help you look at your assets and determine what makes sense for you.

“My experiences co-chairing Federation’s Community Campaign, plus serving on the overseas allocations committee took me to our sister city of Minsk many times. Seeing the magnitude of human need for Jews in Minsk, made me realize how important it is to support Jewish infrastructure there. And of course, it reminds me that we should be proud and grateful for the incredible Jewish institutions we have in Atlanta. They need our support, too. If I can be an influencer to help someone make a gift that ensures the Jewish future here, I’m happy to do it.”