Need: The Jerusalem Foundation strengthens the community support systems of Jerusalem, with a focus on the social and communal needs of the city’s most vulnerable populations. The 11,000 Holocaust survivors living in Jerusalem represent one of the most vulnerable populations in the city, facing psychological, physical and financial challenges that require immediate and substantive solutions.
Response: The Café Europa network offers social and cultural opportunities for the city’s Holocaust survivors. Each neighborhood offers its own menu of services including:
- A meeting place where survivors can enjoy a social and cultural experience.
- A resource center where trained professionals assist survivors in accessing and maximizing the rights and services to which the elderly sector, and the survivor population in particular, are entitled.
- Special activities for veterans, intergeneration activities, lectures, concerts, trips, Yom HaShoah memorials, etc.
- A mobile service of home visits by a social worker, therapist, or trained multi-lingual volunteer for homebound survivors to enhance emotional, social, physical and cognitive well-being.
Population Served: Over 650 men and women participate in Café Europa activities each year in the program’s five branches dispersed among the city’s areas to enable easy accessibility. During Corona, the program identified new needs, and the project added additional volunteers and services.
- The South branch serves the southern part of the city (Rehavia, Katamon, Baka, Gonenim) and includes French, English and Hebrew-speaking groups.
- The North branch, also known as “Café Moscow,” caters mostly to Russian-immigrant populations (Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Ya’akov).
- The Western branch café services Beit Hakerem, Kiryat HaYovel and the surrounding areas.
- The branches in the Geulah and Sanhedriya host separate groups for men and women in the Haredi survivor community.
Impact: “Café Europa is where I can socialize, hear a concert, or just read and relax, in the one place where I feel surrounded by those who truly understand me” (a participant).
Partners: Israeli Ministry for Welfare and Social Services; Jerusalem Municipality Elderly Welfare Department; local community centers; Misgav Lakashish, JDC.