Recent studies indicate that up to 80,000 Holocaust Survivors are living in the United States — and more than 30,000 are living at or near the federal poverty level. The support these Survivors receive does not allow them to afford what they need in order to live a dignified life. Many are choosing between paying the electric bill or food, medicine or rent. Others are in dire living conditions because they do not have the funds needed to repair their homes.

In March 2019, Seed the Dream Foundation in partnership with KAVOD-Ensuring Dignity for Holocaust Survivors, launched a national initiative to support thousands of Holocaust Survivors across the United States. Recognizing the importance of reaching any Survivor regardless of where they live, Seed the Dream Foundation partnered with KAVOD to establish the KAVOD Survivors of the Holocaust Emergency Fund (SHEF).

Seed the Dream Foundation has committed the substantial amount of funding necessary to launch this effort — and more than 20 philanthropists and foundations have quickly joined a coalition of national partners to set SHEF in motion for the second half of 2019.

All KAVOD SHEF funds will be directed toward Emergency Services, specifically to address the following urgent and critical needs: Dental, Vision, Medical, Emergency Home Services (Emergency Utilities, Home Repairs, Rent Support), and Food. This year, Emergency Home Care and Emergency Transportation have been added to the list of unmet needs that will be addressed.

KAVOD SHEF funds will be utilized quickly, with few restrictions, to address unmet emergency needs of Holocaust Survivors in partner cities where this special initiative launched in May 2019.  As one of the local communities in the KAVOD SHEF coalition, Miami launched this special initiative in June of 2020.

KAVOD SHEF exponentially multiplies the dollars (and critical services) directly aiding Holocaust Survivors. Leveraging the funds raised through a special philanthropic national matching initiative, KAVOD SHEF worked with 18 cities across the United States in 2019 and more are joining in 2020, to bring millions of additional dollars into this space. 100% of all KAVOD SHEF matching funds raised will go directly toward Survivor services, serving as a secondary resource to what is already in place.

Marcy Gringlas, President & Co-Founder of Seed the Dream Foundation, explains that “the Survivors’ unmet needs far outweigh the resources available to cover these emergency services, it is for this reason that we launched this initiative and are prepared to continue matching every dollar raised on the national level — even if we exceed our original goals.  It is our hope that KAVOD SHEF will be far reaching, and allow Survivors across the country to have access to these critical services.”

“Seed the Dream Foundation is committed to working with our partners across the country to create a collective communal response and bring most-needed attention to address this silent crisis,” shares Talia Kaplan, Executive Director of Seed the Dream Foundation.

“Every day, we lose more than 40 Holocaust Survivors, and yet every day we continue to see hundreds of new requests for care. There is no time to waste,” adds Gringlas.

“We are truly humbled by this extraordinary funding that will be available to our most precious Holocaust Survivors.  We are constantly seeing emergency needs rise for this most vulnerable population as they age and also face the challenges of living on fixed and limited incomes. These additional dollars will assist Federation and our primary human service agency, Jewish Community Services, to address the most critical issues such as food insufficiency, in-home assistance, emergency medical and dental concerns, and many other needs.  It is a real blessing for these Holocaust Survivors to be able to live out their final years with dignity. We thank KAVOD SHEF for creating this most important, life-enhancing partnership,” noted Jacob Solomon, President & CEO, Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

“JCS values this unique partnership with KAVOD, Seed the Dream Foundation, and our Greater Miami Jewish Federation as an essential bridge to provide emergency services to over 630 Holocaust survivors. We are honored to have the privilege of caring for Holocaust Survivors in our community,” added Miriam Singer, President & CEO, Jewish Community Services.

To ensure greater access to Holocaust Survivors, marketing of the KAVOD SHEF initiative will include the national phone hotline.  The KAVOD SHEF Hotline allows Holocaust Survivors who are not in contact with their local agencies to have a place to call to begin the process of gaining support.  The KAVOD SHEF hotline is 720-295-8484.

KAVOD Ensuring Dignity for Holocaust Survivors, is an organization that is making a massive impact for Holocaust Survivors living near or in poverty in the US.  KAVOD was created in the fall of 2015 when the founders, John and Amy Israel Pregulman, learned that 1/3 of the up to 80,000 Survivors living in the US struggle with day to day basic needs when there is an emergency situation.  Sometimes, it is their life that is in constant chaos that is the emergency.  It seemed unbelievable.  “We still get looks of dismay every time we share these numbers.  We get asked time and time again how is this possible and why is this happening?” says John Pregulman Co-Founder of KAVOD.

In the 4 years that KAVOD has operated, over 2200 Holocaust Survivors in communities in the US have been supported.  It is KAVOD’s mission to meet these courageous people exactly where they are and offer them genuine compassion and love, so they can feel relief in the most dignified way.  KAVOD offers more than aid for groceries and household necessities.  KAVOD offers community, connection, and the very real sensation of feeling valued.

“The issue is not going away and is not dwindling!  Our Survivors are getting older and are having bigger financial stresses.  We only have a few years left with these courageous individuals and we feel it is our responsibility to take care of them and offer them peace in their final years.  They have been through enough and as a human community, we are responsible,” says Amy Israel Pregulman, Executive Director of KAVOD.

This really is our last chance to help our Survivors– those who are still with us– to live out their lives in dignity. Miami Dade County Holocaust Survivors that are in need of emergency services and support may contact Jewish Community Services at 305 576-6550.

You can learn more about KAVOD SHEF at:

Sandy Ala
Jewish Community Services of South Florida

JCS, GMJF and Kavod Shef logos