JF&CS is excited to announce that our friend Ruth recently celebrated a major milestone. On Sept. 19, Ruth, who we know through our Schechter Holocaust Services (SHS) program, turned 100 years old!

To mark the occasion, JF&CS reached out to the governor’s office, which provided an official certificate from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts signed by Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. JF&CS also created a beautiful framed piece with a special birthday wish for Ruth.

Both of these gifts were presented to Ruth on her birthday by our own Inna Lyubimova, a case manager for SHS. After Inna left, Ruth’s family came over to celebrate the big day with a party.

Long Lives for Survivors

Believe it or not, SHS has had many opportunities to recognize survivors on their 100th birthday. Ruth is the third survivor to turn 100 this year, and another survivor will turn 100 in October. SHS keeps track of the birthdays of all the survivors they encounter and sends them handmade cards each year.

Interestingly, studies have found that Holocaust survivors live longer than their peers. In fact, a study from the American Medical Association publication JAMA found that, on average, survivors live 7.1 years longer than their counterparts who were not in the Holocaust.

Although survivors live longer, they suffer from more cancer, hypertension and dementia than those who did not experience the trauma of the Holocaust. Nevertheless, in spite of these health problems, survivors have been found to have stronger immune systems and to be more optimistic than the general population. “The thing about survivors is that they don’t give up,” said Lora Tarlin, the director of SHS. “They have this incredible will to keep moving forward.”

Older Survivors Need More Support

As survivors live into their 80s, 90s and beyond, they typically require more support in their everyday lives, which can take the form of financial help, food assistance or home care. Schechter Holocaust Services works to fill these needs for survivors while upholding their dignity and maintaining their social-emotional well-being.

If you would like to help survivors living in your community, SHS offers several ways to get involved. We are always looking for volunteers to drive survivors to medical appointments, assist with grocery shopping and provide companionship. Volunteers are also welcome to work in our Waltham office or lend a helping hand with our monthly social gatherings for Holocaust survivors, known as Café Hakalah.

To start volunteering with JF&CS, please fill out our Volunteer Registration Form and be sure to check the box for “Holocaust survivors and their families” under “Assignment Interests.” Donating to JF&CS is also a wonderful way to help survivors. Thank you so much for your support!

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