Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

The Blue Card receives grant from Jewish Federations of North America for groundbreaking Holocaust Survivor Care


(L-r), Sarah Mizrachi, Holocaust survivor Irene Hizme, and The Blue Card Executive Director Masha Pearl.

NEW YORK-The Blue Card, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing ongoing, direct aid to Holocaust survivors in the United States, has been selected to receive a grant of $120,000 from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). Overall, JFNA through its Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care will distribute $2.8 million in grants to 34 organizations in 18 states, which when combined with matching funds required by the grant, will result in over $4.6 million in funding for new programming.

The Jewish Federations of North America launched the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care in the fall of 2015, following an award from the United States Department of Health and Human Services for up to $12 million over five years to advance innovations in Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed (PCTI) services for Holocaust survivors in the United States. PCTI care is a holistic approach that promotes the dignity, strength and empowerment of trauma victims by incorporating knowledge about the role of trauma in victims' lives into agency programs, policies and procedures.

The Blue Card program, "PCTI Training for Healthcare Professionals," will educate dental and medical providers on identifying and treating the unique needs of Holocaust survivors. Through face-to-face workshops, webinars and follow-up teleconferencing sessions, the organization will work with dentists who are part of Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity and physicians and nurses in New York City who serve large numbers of Holocaust survivors.

"The Blue Card is proud to be selected to receive a grant from the JFNA's Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care," said Masha Pearl, Executive Director of The Blue Card. "For many Holocaust survivors, the prospect of being institutionalized or facing an extended hospital stay means that even a routine visit to a dentist or doctor can cause the trauma they experienced in childhood to be relived. We hope this effort helps to educate healthcare providers to recognize the specialized needs of survivors, so they can help this dwindling population live their remaining years in dignity."

The Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care promotes innovative service delivery models together with the expertise of partner organizations including the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies and the Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The grant money is a combination of federal dollars and philanthropic dollars raised by Jewish Federations as part of JFNA's National Holocaust Survivor Initiative, which seeks to raise $45 million to support the Survivor community.

"Meeting the needs of Holocaust survivors is a critical mission, and we are excited to partner with the federal government for the second year of this project, which will help us improve the lives of this fragile community," said Mark Wilf, Chair of the JFNA Fund for Holocaust Survivors.

"(I) and my fellow Alpha Omegans are honored to participate with The Blue Card to provide needed dental services to our precious Holocaust survivors. To paraphrase the late Elie Wiesel 'for it only takes a moment to tell your fellow man that you love him and by doing so you have won a certain victory over destiny.' This victory is won each and every time we restore a Holocaust Survivor to function through oral health," said Allen Finkelstein, DDS.

"The Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program is heartened to hear that The Blue Card has received support for their efforts to train health professionals to provide the highest quality care to this most vulnerable population. Most critically, sensitizing health professionals to the importance of oral health for Holocaust survivors-who have suffered so much for so long-will exponentially enhance the overall care they are able to provide," said Steven Kess, President of Henry Schein Cares Foundation and Co-Chairman of AO-HSC Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program. "The elimination of pain, socialization and the ability to eat nutritious foods are critical to an individual's health and self-esteem. Congratulations to The Blue Card for your exceptional work, and to JFNA and others who support vital efforts to improve the lives and well-being of Holocaust survivors."


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