Adopt-A-Safta pairs young Internationals and Israelis with lonely Holocaust survivors. Approximately 190,000 Holocaust survivors currently live in Israel with a myriad of economic and well-being issues, yet their number one complaint is simply loneliness. The project connects these two communities when a young volunteer ‘adopts’ an Israeli grandmother or grandfather. This initiative helps both of these populations overcome loneliness and isolation; young professionals seeking to make meaningful contributions, many of whom are lonely in Israel without family of their own, and the survivors in need of warmth and connection, while we still are blessed with the presence of this holy generation.
Beyond our primary mandate to take care of Israel’s lonely survivor population, Adopt-A-Safta does special programming throughout the year, including producing Israel’s only Yom HaShoah ceremony for young Olim. Recently, we partnered with the Israeli Air Force to bring survivors to visit Air Forces bases throughout the country. We were also honored to take part in an historic trip which brought the majority of the Knesset to visit Auschwitz on International Holocaust Memorial Day.
Yair was born and raised in Beit Arye, Israel. As a teenager, Yair was active as a counselor with the Scouts Movement. Yair served in the Israel Defense Forces for almost 5 years in the Air Force and later in the Moran Unit of the Artillery. During his time in the IDF, he served as a professional officer in several positions, including platoon commander. Currently residing in Tel Aviv, Yair is studying at Tel Aviv University as a 3rd-year undergraduate majoring in both Business Management and East Asian Studies.
Danni grew up in Irvine, California. She was a Tarzan-type kid, running wild, exploring, and figuring the world out for herself. She developed a serious and passionate love for animals and nature, but also for culture, art, music, languages, and travel. While studying for her first degree in wildlife biology at UC Berkeley, she learned Yiddish and Italian, and played the drum set compulsively. After graduating she worked at two Yiddish non-profits while living in LA and began pursing the arts as a goldsmith, while working on acquiring more languages. She made Aliyah in 2010, and since then has lived in Tel Aviv. She has dedicated herself wholly to making Israel a better place, volunteering at an old age home, teaching English to refugees, and running a kitten rescue. Danni joined Adopt-A-Safta as a dedicated volunteer and is now leading the community enrichment program.
Kara graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in Social Work, specializing in gerontology. After graduation, she went to Ukraine on a JDC fellowship. There she trained professional caregivers in Alzheimer’s and dementia care and helped start a memory care program for Nazi Victims. After finishing the fellowship, she moved to Israel and began volunteering with Adopt-A-Safta while working at a senior center for people affected with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Natalie is an actress, vegetarian, Zionist, and health coach. She performed on Broadway as an original cast member in Disney’s musical, “Tarzan.” In the midst of her career, a new dream was born when she came to Israel for the first time. She arrived to Israel without a sense of Jewish identity and left with her second love: Israel and the Jewish people. Just like realizing her Broadway dream, pounding the pavement to land the role, Natalie pursued Israel, inspired by story of “The Start-up Nation,” and motivated by the ideology of tikkun olam. She returned multiple times leading Birthright trips, teaching at-risk youth, working with Masa Israel Journey, and The Israel Experience – all the while rehearsing for her greatest role yet: olah chadasha. From actress to Israeli, Natalie feels privileged to play a part in the story of the Jewish People. Natalie is pursuing an MA in Global Community Development from the Hebrew University; combining her professional expertise and eclectic background to employ the performing arts as a tool for mobilizing development and empowering those who have been marginalized.