You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old; you shall fear your God: I am Hashem Leviticus 19:32 (The Israel Bible™)
Holocaust survivor Shoshana Ovitz wanted to celebrate her 104th birthday in a special way. Her birthday wish – For all 400 of her descendants to gather together for a prayer at the Kotel (Western Wall).
Last week, her birthday wish came true as all 400 of her progeny gathered together at the Western Wall plaza.
Shoshana saw all 400 of her descendants from a balcony overlooking the Wall and asked to bless each one of them individually. However, her daughter convinced that it might take too long and instead, recommended that she bless all of them as one.
Her grandson, Meir Rosenstein, told Israeli journalist and Channel 2 contributor Sivan Rahav Meir: “My grandmother, Shoshana Ovitz, survived Auschwitz. Right in front of her very eyes, Dr. Mengele killed her mother. After the war, she met my Grandfather – Dov, who lost his wife and four daughters in the concentration camps.
“They got married and moved to Haifa. She worked as a seamstress and helped him run his chicken store. Now Grandma is celebrated her 104th birthday. She has asked for a present: That all her descendants would unite together to the Western Wall,” Rosenstein said.
The touching picture shows all of Ovitz’s descendants. It was uploaded to social media, garnering hundreds of thousands of ”shares” throughout the world.
The Western Wall is a retaining wall that encompasses the Temple Mount. Although it is not on the Temple Mount itself, many Jewish worshippers still go there as a monument commemorating the only in-tact structure since the destruction of the second Temple.
And although Ms. Orvitz seems to be doing okay, there are many other Holocaust survivors in Israel that aren’t
They still need your help.
That’s because many survivors suffer from physical and mental ailments like dementia. And although dementia is bad, for survivors it’s much worse.
Most people don’t realize that aside from short-term memory loss, the dementia of Holocaust survivors is a very different experience than that of regular patients.
That’s because when a survivor suffers dementia, the horrors of the Holocaust are fresh in their minds as if they are still reliving it to this day!
According to Shoshana Lichtman from the organization Melabev, these survivors “not only have nightmares about their horrible past, but many of them also daydream about it on a daily basis as well”.
Lichtman recalls one survivor who enjoys writing. But no matter what she writes about, it keeps coming back to the same thing- the Holocaust and the ghettos in Warsaw and Poland, where she spent her youth.
What we can do to help
Although there is no actual cure to this unique type of dementia, there are ways to contain it.
Shoshana Lichtman from Melabev breaks it down into two separate treatments.
One is to let them vent.
These Holocaust survivors have a lot of pent up baggage from their experience. Therefore, it’s important that they just let it out and get it off of their chest. Melabev provides an open ear encouraging them to say what’s on their mind. The organization is there for them, enabling the survivors to get everything out of their system – either by either writing or just by talking.
Some of them are unable to talk and therefore opt for art therapy.
The other way to treat Holocaust Dementia is by keeping the survivors busy with fun and engaging activities.
These activities keep their minds occupied preventing them from reliving their horrid past. They include:
- Discussions at meal-time
- Arts and crafts
- Torah lectures
- Packing meals for soldiers
- Visits from local school children
“All of these activities give the survivors a much-needed sense of purpose in their final years on this earth” explains Lichtman.
This is your unique opportunity to show them that the nations are no longer their enemies. Donating today is the least you can do to help these people restore some iota of faith in the nations. But don’t take our word for it, just see what is written in Deuteronomy:
If, however, there is a needy person among you, one of your kinsmen in any of your settlements in the land that Hashem your God is giving you, do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kinsman. Rather, you must open your hand and lend him sufficient for whatever he needs (Deuteronomy 15:7-8)
This is your chance to open your hand from the comfort of your home. Let these poor survivors know that you are not one of them.
Donate to this incredible organization today.