When The Fellowship learned about the plight of thousands of elderly living in poverty in Israel – many forced to choose between paying for rent or food or medicine, as they can’t afford them all – we launched our With Dignity and Fellowship program. Through a vast team of staff and volunteers, this program helps Israel’s impoverished elderly – many of them Holocaust survivors – with food, medicine, and companionship.
And sometimes we host events for the elderly that are supported through this program. Recently, The Fellowship helped host a fashion show featuring seven elderly Holocaust survivors in the Negev Desert city of Arad. These women, four originally from the former Soviet Union, enjoyed modeling original designs by Irene Boutique Fashion. “These women endured unimaginable suffering during the Holocaust,” said Rabbi Eckstein. “Through an event like this, these survivors teach us about real beauty, pride, and a zest for life.”
Elizabeth, one of the survivors who modeled at the event, was born in 1937 in Ukraine. She was barely a toddler when World War II broke out and her parents and three brothers fled with her to Oryol in present-day Russia. Her eldest brother was recruited into the Red Army and returned after the war severely crippled after his leg had been amputated.
“My mother was also a seamstress. During the war years, we had nothing. My mother would sew us clothing from frayed scraps of fabric. I remember receiving my first real dress when I was 15. It was so beautiful and perfect that I didn’t dare to wear it! I’ve worn my own clothes all my life, dresses that I designed on my own, hats, and even shoes. I’m really excited about this show.”
We were so happy these survivors were able to walk down the runway, showing their passion for life! In addition to helping these participants, The Fellowship is currently funding projects in Israel that are helping 19,000 Holocaust survivors in need.