The Yellow Rose is a not for profit charitable organization that forges intergenerational relationships between Holocaust survivors and young adults (age 16 to 40) through a variety of meaningful programs and events. Through these bonds, we hope to achieve and ensure that Holocaust survival testimonies are effectively passed on; provide survivors with dignity and quality of life in their older adult years; and to teach the lessons of the Holocaust thereby ensuring that subsequent generations might recognize and counter intolerance where it stems. In the future, Toronto’s Jewish community will no longer have access to our beloved Holocaust survivors. We must act today in order to provide our community with meaningful, first hand engagement with those who survived the Nazi genocide while they are still here to tell their stories. This is the raison d’etre of The Yellow Rose.
Our initiatives range from a variety of micro and macro levels of programming which include Dial A Survivor, Friendly Visiting, The Unbroken Telephone and Senior Prom: Intergenerational Celebration of Life. Details are outlined below.
NONE IS FORGOTTEN: Our micro level services, whether through Dial a Survivor (via phone) or Friendly visiting (in-person) would provide Holocaust survivors, especially those living in isolation, with the opportunity to gain a sense of belonging and partnership with the wider community.
Beyond these interpersonal borders, we also offer macro level educational and social programs including The Unbroken Telephone, linking Holocaust survivors with a cohesive and sustainable group of 4-5 young adults to learn survivor testimonies. One survivor will be matched with a group of 4-5 young adults where they will tell, retell and teach group members their personal stories so that when he/she is no longer here, those 4-5 young adults will each be able to pass on the testimonies of their survivor to another group of 4-5 young adults.
The Yellow Rose will partner with various UJA organizations like the March of the Living and take the lead on organizing another Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life. Through this combined effort we hope to maximize the number of Holocaust survivors and younger generations.
The Yellow Rose is an initiative that was inspired by the Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life for Holocaust survivors and March of the Living participants. It became clear that survivors and young adults are thirsty for more opportunities to interact with one another and are eager to engage in future programming. The following are personal anecdotes from the Senior Prom and reasons why The Yellow Rose needs to be established.
“This was a wonderful night, let’s do it again in 3 months!” (Langer, Manny; 2011)
“I never had my youth during the Holocaust, and tonight, I got it back,” (Unknown; 2011)
“For the first time I knew they weren’t crying because they were sad, it was because they were happy,” (Tal, Carly; 2011).
CASE FOR GIVING
The fact that Holocaust survivors will no longer be with us in 5-10 year (pupupu) indicates a significant magnitude of a problem and the Toronto Jewish community needs to increase their investment with Holocaust survivors. Thus, we must bind together and focus our fiscal resources and energies towards both Holocaust survivors and younger generations now and it is through The Yellow Rose that we will be able to do so. The Yellow Rose provides a platform for Holocaust survivors and younger generations--an organizational structure that is long overdue to run effective programming. We need to take advantage of the presence of Holocaust survivors living in Toronto while they are still here and ensure that their stories are remembered and are kept in a safe place—at the helm of future generations. There are many benefits of our programs, whether it be increased socialization for isolated seniors, engaging unaffiliated young adults or ensuring Holocaust survivors that we will not forget them and their stories. We also must be investing in the lives of those who now hold the weight of Holocaust remembrance responsibility on their shoulder--the 3rd generation.
J-Serve Toronto (www.jserve.ca), an annual day of community service and improvement projects organized by BBYO, already reaches hundreds of Jewish teens from across the Toronto area - from all Jewish backgrounds.
The Toronto initiative is one of over 100 J-Serve events held simultaneously around the world, where teens participate in a variety of different projects as they explore the Jewish values of gemilut chasidim (acts of loving kindness), tzedakah (just and charitable giving) and tikkun olam (the responsibility to repair the world).
With the support of UJA Federation's Six Points Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund, J-Serve Toronto will expand its approach to teen engagement to include year-round volunteer experiences offering compelling content and a meaningful connection to the community.
With an innovative brand that appeals to teens and partnerships with organizations and community leaders who are committed to securing a strong Jewish future, J-Serve Toronto is committed to - and uniquely capable of - connecting thousands of new teens in the coming years to meaningful involvement in the community.