IN THE NEWS: Local Grant Aids Needy Holocaust Survivors

Shani McManus

Jewish Journal

Oct 25, 2012

In honor of its founder and president, NEXT GENERATIONS, a Boca Raton-based organization comprised of children and grandchildren of Holocaust victims, has established The Nancy Dershaw Grant for Holocaust Survivors in Need.

Since April of 2011, the grant has awarded $28,000 to the Alpert Jewish Family and Children's Service in West Palm Beach and the Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service in Boca Raton. Organization leaders said one hundred percent of the money is used to help survivors by improving or enhancing their quality of life.

"We need to think about not only what our survivors have endured during the Holocaust, but what they are enduring now," Riva Ginsburg chairman of the Grant Committee said.

"The need is greater now than ever before, because many Holocaust survivors are aging and many are all alone and left without spouses or family," she said. "We have only a small window of opportunity to help them because time is running out.

Danielle Hartman, president and CEO of Ruth Rales Jewish Family said she is "very thankful" for funding received from grants such as the Nancy Dershaw Grant for Holocaust Survivors.

"These funds afford us the ability to pay for emergency needs when they arise. Last year alone, JFS gave out over $70 thousand in emergency funds to over 250 Holocaust survivors who needed our help," she said.

Hartman said the money goes for "unanticipated expenses" such as hearing aids, dental and medical bills, assistance with mortgage payments and other life sustaining needs.

"Without support for these type of services many survivors would not be able to get the medical and dental help they need to remain healthy and independent," she said.

Jenni Frumer, associate executive director of Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service echoed those sentiments.

"AJFCS is honored to be the recipient of funds from the Nancy Dershaw Grant Fund on behalf of needy Holocaust survivor's in the community. While AJFCS is grateful for the success of the Claims Conference in negotiating with the German Government for additional funds this past year, aging Holocaust survivors have other needs that cannot be met with the funds administered by the Claims Conference," she said.

"Examples of how the grant monies will be used are to provide for the cost of medical and dental needs not covered by Medicare or insurance, socialization to prevent isolation, which most often leads to depression and exacerbated medical problems, special nutritional supplies and minor home adjustments so that the survivor can remain in their own home for as long as possible," Frumer said. "We are so grateful to NEXT GENERATIONS for their ongoing support and advocacy on behalf of survivors, in enhancing the quality of lives for our survivors."

Judi Hannes, co-chairman of the Grant Committee and creator of the grant said it was "appropriate" to name the grant in honor of Dershaw.

"Nancy has done so much that we wanted to do something to honor her. And what better way to honor her than to do something for survivors. She is just such an inspiration," she said.

Ginsburg concurred. "Nancy works tirelessly for the organization and had developed it from a very small organization to a very large organization," she said. "Nancy is the driving force of the organization."

Dershaw said she is "humbled" by having the grant named in her honor.

"I kvell about it," she said. "But it's what the grant is that's important. It could be in anybody's name, but as long as it goes to the survivors, that's the main goal.

"When I started it, it was for children and grandchildren of survivors to get together," she noted. "But after a few years, we had people in the community who wanted to support us. Now, even non-Jews are involved and that has taken us to another level."

Dershaw said part of NEXT GENERATIONS mission is to educate the public about the Holocaust.

"We go into schools, even in Broward County, to educate the students about the Holocaust," she said. "And we will be distributing 6,000 DVDs throughout the world with personal stories of survivors."

Since 1979, JFS has been providing help, hope and humanity through a comprehensive range of programs and services to people of all ages and beliefs. To learn more, visit www.ruthralesjfs.org.

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