Posted by Sarah Raykhtsaum
I have been volunteering with Schechter Holocaust Services (SHS) for almost five months. Looking back, I am reflecting on how much I have gained through this experience. Beyond the research, communication, and organizational skills I have worked on while assisting the dedicated SHS staff with their office tasks, I have, even more importantly, been shown the true value of a strong community.
The Holocaust survivors and elderly Russian immigrants in my community have always been a powerful source of inspiration. I am truly in awe of how diligently and passionately the SHS staff work to ensure that these individuals have their needs met and are able to continue living meaningful lives. Even while helping out with behind-the-scenes office work, I felt proud to be volunteering at an organization that provides undivided attention to members of our community who, despite suffering unthinkable evil, survived and built a vibrant Jewish future. Not only does SHS honor our community’s elders, they also look towards the future. Since I began volunteering, I watched with amazement as my supervisor put together a Holocaust education program in which high school students are paired with Holocaust survivors they visit and learn from. This kind of work is crucial because it passes the survivors’ legacies down to the next generation.