AMCHA - The code word that helped survivors identify fellow Jews in war ravaged Europe now stands for another kind of support system. Established in 1987 by a group of Holocaust survivors and devoted mental health professionals, AMCHA set out to create a framework for mutual aid,memory processing and grief resolution. Now, close to three decades later, AMCHA provides a full range of psychological and social services to Holocaust survivors and their families and continues to be a home and safe place for them to unburden their hearts and share their stories with others.
AMCHA is the largest provider of mental health and social support services for Holocaust survivors in Israel, currently reaching close to 20,000 individuals. We offer the following main services: Mental Health Care; Psychosocial Rehabilitation Clubs; Community Outreach; Social Casework; Professional and Volunteer Home Visits; Holocaust Documentation and Inter-generational Programming.
AMCHA has earned a reputation in Israel and around the world for it's professionalism, competence, and integrity. It has opened its doors to survivor communities all around Israel and has established state-of-the-art services. Our activities take place in fourteen centers throughout Israel, located from Nahariya in the north through Beer Sheba and Sderot in the south, and in the homes of aging survivors with limited mobility. Over 53,000 home visits by professionals took place in 2015, serving the most vulnerable survivors who were unable to come to our centers for treatment. In addition to the over 400 experienced professionals working at AMCHA – including clinical psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists and other therapists, 900 volunteers are involved in our work, augmenting our care. Along with the expertise of its professional staff, the dedication of its volunteers is endless.
Interestingly, while initial projections pointed to the expected decrease in the demand for our services, over the past years, the number of survivors turning to us continues to grow. In 2004 we served 6,969 individuals; in 2010 we served 13,451 individuals and in 2015 we served 19,814 individuals. This is explained by the fact that as the survivors' age and face additional challenges and losses, such as losing a spouse, or losing physical or mental capacities, their needs are greater and the available supports are often more limited. These new challenges and losses are layered on challenges and losses from the Holocaust, including unresolved grief and other traumatic experiences. Events like this past summer's "Operation Protective Edge" have also had devastating effects as they can easily trigger the survivor's wartime memories.
During Holocaust Memorial Day, special events are offered all over Israel and extra support services are made available to survivors and family members. There is also a telephone hotline open for all Israelis and various art and cultural programs that help bridge the gap between the survivor and the non-survivor population and between the old and the young,
Unfortunately, there is a very limited window of opportunity to reach out to survivors and provide them with much needed care and support. The average age of estimated 200,000 survivors living in Israel today is 85. While the child-survivors are in the 70's, there are many others in our care in their 90's, therefore we must act now!
New Amcha Center in Ashdod
We are proud to share with our friends that Amcha has recently opened its fifteenth center in the southern city of Ashdod. It will be affiliated with Amcha's Ashkelon Branch. Amcha's staff will provide mental health services to Holocaust survivors and others facing trauma in Ashdod and adjacent areas. The decision to open this center was in response to the growing needs among aging survivors, including many who immigrated to Israel from the Former Soviet Union, and the lack of other available services in this area. In addition, the recent waves of terror and security threats in the south of Israel, including last summer's "Operation Protective Shield" have caused elevated anxiety levels and as a result, a greater demand for clinical services.
Gal Talias, who previously worked as a therapist on the Ashkelon team has been appointed as Director, overseeing a team of 11 therapists who are already providing care to 90 clients. We thank UJA Federation of New York for their assistance towards opening this new center.
Hanukkah candle lighting and holiday parties took place at all of Amcha's Psychosocial Clubs. Mrs. Sarah Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Mrs. Gila Gamliel, Minister of Social Equality, both of whom are daughters of Holocaust survivors, joined over 50 members from Amcha's Jerusalem Club for the party. Sarah Netanyahu said:" I have followed the work of Amcha for many years, as I understand the great importance of psychological care for Holocaust survivors and the second generation. Today we are celebrating the victory of light over dark forces, hoping that this kind of darkness will never repeat itself in our world". Minister Gamliel added: "It is a special privilege to be with you all, at Amcha".
Personal message that s/he would like to leave for future generations. The event, graciously hosted at the Daniel Herzlia Hotel, was attended by the survivors who shared their stories, their children, and grandchildren. Marga Gannon- Junowicz, Director of Amcha Netanya spoke about the great importance of documenting life stories, for the survivors themselves as well as for generations to come. We thank our Danish Friends for their on-going support to Amcha Netanya and their assistance in producing this important book.
Present-Past: Dialogue on Psychological Support for Survivors of Collective Violence
A group of 18 senior mental health professionals from Germany and Israel came together for a two-day trauma dialogue in Jerusalem. The goal was to begin a process of sharing and merging expertise in caring for extremely traumatized people after socio-political events. This was the first part of a planned four- part program supported by the German Federal Ministry of Health and the "Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft" Foundation.
Please support us, so we can continue to provide critical support to Israel's Holocaust survivors.
STICHTIN VRIENDEN VAN AMCHA NEDERLAND
Tel. +31 33 472 5459
Donations: NL42 ABNA 049 06 06 210,
ten name van Stichting Vrienden van AMCHA, Amersfoort.
SCHWEIZER FREUNDESKREIS VON AMCHA
Tel. +41-(0) 44-251-25-64
AMCHA – Stiftung Deutschland
AMCHA Deutschland e.V.
Tel. +49-(0)30 - 280 980 38
Fax +49-(0)30 - 280 998 71
Home page: http://www.amcha.de/
Konto: 39 11 365
Bankleitzahl: 520 604 10
Evangelische Bank eG
IBAN: DE90 5206 0410 0003 9113 65
North American Friends of AMCHA-Israel, Inc.
C/o Marks Paneth LLP
Robert Kuchner (treasurer)
685 Third Ave.
New York, NY 10017
PEF Israel Endowment Fund, Inc.
P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds., Inc.
630 Third Avenue, 15TH Floor
New York NY 10017-6745 USA
Tel 212-599-1260 or Fax 212-599-5981