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Israeli Holocaust Survivors Find Community at Café Europa Social Clubs

Federation helped 8,000 Holocaust survivors attend 120 Café Europa social clubs in Israel this year, working together with our overseas partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. At the clubs, they find social and emotional support through the distinctive program, which also preserves their legacy for future generations.

Each Café Europa offers activities driven by the participants themselves, reflecting their unique interests and sensibilities. What’s universal is that Café Europa brings survivors warmth and community, and empowers them to create fulfilling experiences to share together. Together they form touring choirs; establish libraries with books in their native languages; organize lectures, workshops, and literary evenings; celebrate Kabbalat Shabbats, holidays and birthdays; create musical performances and plan field trips throughout Israel, giving Café Europa myriad forms throughout its many locations.

In each location, the program provides a critical forum for aging elderly survivors to share their experiences not only with each other but also with the youth in their communities. Local high school students join the seniors as volunteers and take part in joint activities like arts and crafts, hikes and excursions. This next generation learns the survivors’ stories, and together, they forge an intergenerational community and contribute to the collective memory of the Shoah.

Tzipora, a 77-year-old Café Europa participant in Karmiel, Israel, shared, “The feeling of a common destiny unites me with the other survivors I’ve met here. It allowed me to open up emotionally and to become socially active for the first time.”

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