JFS works to better support needs of Russian-speaking Holocaust survivors

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — JFS MetroWest has been appointed a sub-grantee for critical support services for isolated, Russian-speaking Holocaust survivors.

In partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and Jewish Federations of North America, Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ seeks to better support the needs of socially isolated, Russian-speaking Holocaust survivors living in Essex, Morris and Sussex counties.

Research has shown that the needs of Russian-speaking Holocaust survivors differ greatly from those from Western Europe and other locales, because of the significant persecution they faced after returning to their homes following the Holocaust. The trauma these individuals experienced under communist regime, after enduring the horrors of the Holocaust, compounded a distrust for government entities and non-Russian service delivery units. As a result, those who came to the United States have faced significant challenges assimilating, and a large percentage have experienced poverty, social isolation, and a fear of seeking out mental health care and other supportive services.

Supported by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Wilf Family Foundations and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ, JFS’ comprehensive array of services have supported Holocaust survivors in the community for more than 15 years. The continuum of services offered includes: Cafe Europa, a therapeutic socialization program; outreach and case management; information, referral and advocacy; referrals to medical transportation; assistance with reparations and claims forms; crisis intervention; financial relief; and homecare services for those who are eligible.

JFS anticipates reaching a total of 80 Russian-speaking Holocaust survivors through this grant. A part-time case manager fluent in Russian has been hired to reduce social isolation and to provide case management to improve access to services they need to avoid and ameliorate crises. Monthly socialization support groups will be starting in early fall.

For more information about Jewish Family Service, call 973-765-9050 or visit www.jfsmetrowest.org.