Two volunteers recently called on my adopted Survivor Frida taking with them a letter and photo graphs from me. One of the volunteers, from Siberia, has begun translating letters from English to Russian as part of our adoption programme. She had translated the letter from me to Frida so she saw at first hand the end result of our combined endeavours to bless a Survivor.
The letter was handed to Frida who, before she had even sat down, opened it and read aloud every word with great feeling. ”This is friendship”, declared Frida. The young volunteer, looking on, was so pleased at Frida’s obvious delight. From sitting in an office working on a lap top with translations she witnessed the outcome of her hard work in this small apartment in Akko. Other translators may not have this opportunity but the fruit of their labors will be just as meaningful.
Writing to a Survivor is a mitzvah, a good deed, a sacred work. According to Jewish thinking a mitzvah for a Holocaust Survivor is of the highest order because there can be no reward or personalgain. It is an entirely selfless act. With this in mind it becomes easier to remember that adopting a Survivor is not about us but is all about them. AHI does not offer a pen-pal service. Adopters may never receive a reply. However, God willing, I shall visit as many as possible. Adopters will receive reports based on my visits and those of other volunteers. We aim to keep adopters in touch with their Survivors.
Where does the adoption programme begin? It begins in the heart of God,
“For ADONAI is comforting his people,
having mercy on his own who have suffered.” Isaiah 49:13
The dear ones who have heard the cry of God’s heart for the deeply wounded of Israel have engaged in a sacred work. Many are the expressions of love shown through the work of AHI. The work entrusted to me is very special. I receive the letters from adopters. This is an amazing privilege as I prepare each one ready for translation. I am often deeply moved by the expressions of love and care, the friendly chat and news which I know will bring so much colour and joy to each Survivor.
A few pointers to adopting and writing to a Survivor:
- This is a commitment not to be taken on lightly. It grieves our hearts when Survivors are just dropped. They have suffered too many crushing disappointments already.
- Keep letters happy and newsy and not too long; it can take a long time for the translator.
- Write regularly, remember the special festivals and birthdays.
Many Survivors are waiting for someone to show them the care and love they so desperately need. Please prayerfully consider this special mitzvah.
Oh, and by the way, you will also be blessed!