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Program matches Holocaust survivors with new Olim

Adopt-a-Safta gives elderly people a friend and youngsters an opportunity to interact

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Adopt-a-Safta matches Holocaust survivors with young immigrants to Israel. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Adopt-a-Safta matches Holocaust survivors with young immigrants to Israel. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Jerusalem’s branch of Adopt-a-Safta (Hebrew for “Adopt-a-grandma”) will open Sunday eve, providing lonely Holocaust survivors with friends as Israel approaches Holocaust Remembrance Day.

According to a press release on Thursday, the initiative is an attempt to solve what some 200,000 elderly survivors point to as their No. 1 complaint — loneliness,

Adopt-a-Safta — founded by Jay M. Shultz, president of the Am Yisrael Foundation — pairs young immigrants to Israel with Holocaust survivors on the Big Brother/Big Sister model, and provides the survivors with companionship and a sense of legacy for their experiences before, during, and after the Holocaust.

In addition to providing the survivors with an adopted grandchild, the program enables young immigrants to deal with the stories of the Holocaust and understand their connection to it, and its memory in Israeli culture, which can be different from what they were used to abroad, the group said.

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