Brighton Beach

Shorefront Council expands Holocaust survivor services

April 14, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Council members Chaim Deutsch and Rafael Espinal help officials cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the new program. Photo courtesy of Shorefront JCC
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Holocaust survivors living in Brighton Beach now have a place to go for help, thanks to the City Council, which provided funding for the Shorefront Jewish Community Council to expand its Holocaust Survivor Social Services Program.

The community council, which operates out of 128 Brighton Beach Ave., recently hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the expansion.

The program’s expansion was made possible by New York City Council’s Holocaust Survivor Initiative, an effort spearheaded by Councilmembers Rafael Espinal (D-Cypress Hills-East New York) and Mark Levine (D-Morningside Heights).

Councilmember Chaim Deutsch (D-Brighton Beach-Manhattan Beach) in whose district the community council is located, attended the ceremony and helped cut the ribbon. “Councilman Deutsch has been absolutely amazing to us,” community council spokeswoman Sarah Felsenthal told the Brooklyn Eagle. “He provided us with the infrastructure without which we would not be able to do case work or any other assistance efforts.”

The new city funding is enabling the community council to leverage public and philanthropic funds to significantly enhance its services to destitute Holocaust survivors, according to officials.

“It is our firm belief that Holocaust survivors, especially given the horrors they experienced, deserve to live out the rest of their lives in tranquility and decency,” the community council’s leaders said in a statement.

A Holocaust survivor who spoke at the ceremony spoke about the painful hunger she experienced during the war and said the hunger haunts her to this day. She expressed gratitude for the meals delivered to her door as a result of the center’s program.   

Espinal was visibly moved at his meeting with Holocaust survivors, according to people who attended the ceremony.

“I am incredibly proud of the Survivor Initiative that I sponsored in the City Council’s FY16 budget, which allocated $1.5 million to ensure that Holocaust survivors in New York City have the resources they need to live their lives with peace and dignity,” Espinal said in a statement. “I was honored to join the team at Shorefront JCC at their ribbon cutting to celebrate the wonderful work they do in the community and to highlight the critical services they are able to provide to survivors as a result of this important initiative.”

Shorefront Jewish Community Council, an independent, nonprofit organization, was established in 1981 as one of a number of Jewish community councils throughout the city created by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council).

Shorefront serves 3,000 people a year. All of its services are free.  The community council’s mission is to provide services to immigrants, the elderly and the economically disadvantaged in Brighton Beach and neighboring communities.

There are 32,914 Holocaust survivors currently living in Brooklyn, according to Met Council.

The Met Council was awarded a federal grant last month to expand its services for Holocaust survivors. The grant marked the first time the U.S. government has provided direct funding for services for Holocaust survivors, Met Council officials said. The grant, combined with matching private funds, will enable the organization to provide $442,666 in new programming for survivors.


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