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The Yellow Rose

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).


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.



An estimated 13000 survivors reside in the Greater Toronto Area, one of the largest concentrations of Holocaust survivors in the world, (Yaakobi, S.; April 13, 2011). This number is growing as the children of survivors bring older adult parents from other parts of the country and world to Toronto. In addition, the Jewish community must ensure that survivors continue to be provided with quality care and attention as service organizations become taxed by the geriatric boom taking place in our community and society. The Yellow Rose organization would supplement and work with the already excellent, quality care provided by geriatric care service organizations in Toronto by providing outreach services to older adult survivors. The Yellow Rose would be in a position to interact with these individuals, to know when they are in need and to provide appropriate referral when such is required. In turn, participants would be provided with the opportunity to support older adult survivors and hear their testimony.

It’s a Holocaust remembrance emergency and we need to act immediately. Unfortunately, in the next 5-10 years, survivors will no longer be here and younger generations will not have access to them. Thus, The Yellow Rose is an urgent conception that needs to be realized because:
a) it gives Holocaust survivors the opportunity to connect with young adults (vice versa)
b) The third generation will be the last cohort of individuals to build meaningful relationships with survivors
c) Younger generations will have an outlet to learn stories and in turn will take on the reigns of passing the stories to future generations.
d) Younger generations have no choice but to become the voice of Holocaust survivors—if we don’t, we will have failed them
e) need to get survivors out of isolation and involved in other organizations that provide support to Holocaust survivors (Cafe Europa)

Goals, Objectives & Measurement: 

• Increase number of intergenerational relationships in Toronto community
• Produce intergenerational programming for Holocaust survivors and young adults
• Decrease number of Holocaust survivors living in isolation; increase social opportunities
• Deliver programs to Holocaust survivors and younger generations in order for them to form bonds, create memories and pass on stories
• Increase the number of young adults’ involvement in the Jewish community
• Increase the number of people who actively remember Holocaust survivors testimonials
• Provide an innovative outlet for March of the Living follow up using intergenerational programming initiatives
o March of the Living gets ~260 participants a year (High school delegation only)
• Increase Senior Prom Holocaust survivors and young adult attendance by 15% in 2012
• Increase opportunity for young adults who cannot afford to go on programs like the March of the Living to spend time with Holocaust survivors

Holocaust survivor Objectives
• An estimated 13000Holocaust survivors living in Toronto Jewish community with mobility levels ranging from independent (can drive, motor and cognitive levels in tact), living in isolation (independent; need assistance; get assistance from government; communication barriers) We hope to:
o Reach 50 Holocaust survivors to take part in The Unbroken Telephone project
o Reach 40 of those Holocaust survivors living alone through our Dial a Survivor 1-4 times a month
o 40 Holocaust survivors will receive a friendly visit 1-2 times a month
o Give Holocaust survivors the opportunity to share their life experiences and stories with younger generations which will give them:
 A sense of fulfilment and life satisfaction
 Increase their quality of life
• 300 Holocaust survivors will attend Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life in 2012
• Our programs will result in increased communication between Holocaust survivors and young adults
• Through The Unbroken Telephone, 4-5 young adults will build a cohesive partnership with one another and their survivor and work together to pass on their stories to 4-5 individuals each (snowball effect)--meet with survivor 1-2 times a month
• Reach out to survivors who have never told their stories--provide them with a safe platform to tell their stories and if need be, direct them to existing resources in the community for support
• Shift responsibilities of telling their stories of survival to younger generations

Young Adult Objectives
• ~250 young adults will take part in The Ubroken Telephone in Yellow Rose’s first year and meet with survivor 1-2 times a month
• ~40 young adults will have participated in Dial a Survivor and communicate with survivor 1-4 times a month
• ~40 young adults will participate in Friendly visiting and will visit 1-2 times a month
• 40% of March of the Living participants to get involved with The Yellow Rose as part of their follow up requirement after their trip and take an active role in either Dial a Survivor or Friendly visiting
• 80% (out of approx 260 participants) of March of the Living Alumni (2012) will attend Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life
• 100 Jewish young adults will attend Senior Prom
• By year 3, 250 young adults will recruit 4-5 young adults to retell the stories learned from their survivor (snowball effect begins)

Measurements for survivors:
• Did How many times do they call/ get a phone call from younger generation
• Were 40 Holocaust survivors called (Dial A Survivor)
• Were 40 Holocaust survivors visited by a young adult (Friendly visiting program)?
• Track if Holocaust survivors have been involved in any Holocaust survivor programs in the community (questionnaire before their participation with yellow rose)

Measurements for 3rd generation
• How many young adults have participated in Jewish community programming?
o survey before and after participation to track involvement
• How many March of the Living Alumni will do this as follow up after their trip
• Of those participants who took part in The Unbroken Telephone how many individuals have they recruited in order to retell stories?

Opportunity for Involvement: 

Business development, analysis and marketing
Navigating the government—specifically for further funding—New Horizons
Operations and project management
Graphic Design

Time Frame: 

Publicity and Promotion of organization--Director and Coordinator position filled; Senior Prom Coordinator appointed (February 2012)
Recruitment of Holocaust survivors and young adults begin (March 2012)
Prom; Recruitment of Project: Never Forget. But How? Friendly visiting and Dial a Survivor get launched --individuals signed up @ PROM (June 2012)
Coordination for all Yellow Rose programs (July 2012)
Inception of all programs begin (August 2012)
Contained program that if successful can be repeated and then replicated in other communities (January 2013)


March of the Living and CIE Canada, UJA Supported
Potential Partners: Community Connect; JUMP; CIJA; Hillel Canada; The Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre; Bernard Betel; Baycrest (Cafe Europa); Cummer Lodge; Forest Hill Retirement;

Elise Kayfetz, B.A, MSc Geriatrics Elise Kayfetz is a gerontologist by trade and has focused her academic career on both the impact of the Holocaust on survivors as well as relationships between Holocaust survivors and their grandchildren. Her work in these areas have inspired her to work with Holocaust survivors and she believes that while they are here we need to learn their stories, be aware of their needs as older adults, care for them appropriately and dance with them. Elise currently works with the March of the Living as their Post Programming Coordinator and has developed innovative and educational programs for MOL Alumni 2011. One of the programs she created for her MOL Alumni is called Legacy: An Action Plan which inspired the Unbroken Telephone project. Elise created and initiated the Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life for Holocaust survivors and March of the Living Alumni in June 2011 which tugged on the heart strings of both those in attendance and in the those living in the GTA.

Organizational Structure and Expertise: 

Director, Yellow Rose
Role and responsibilities:
-Supervise Volunteer Coordinator and Senior Prom Chairs
-Build and maintain relationships with potential partnering organizations for recruitment of Holocaust survivors and young adults as well as sponsorship and funding
-Help recruit Holocaust survivors in the community; once established, train them for The Unbroken Telephone workshops
-Build and maintain relationships with lay leaders and donors
-Continual strategic planning for a future without survivors
-Must have Masters in Social Work or in a related field (Gerontology, Sociology)
-Experience working with Holocaust survivors and have understanding of their needs and challenges
-Understanding of the 3rd generation and their responsibilities as future leaders in the Jewish community
-Four years (minimum working in a similar role: Director)
-Understanding of Jewish communal services
-Fundraising experience

Volunteer Coordinator, Yellow Rose
Roles and responsibilities:
Recruit Young adults for Dial A Survivor, Friendly Visiting and The Unbroken Telephone
Train Young Adults and provide packages for Project Never Forget. But How?
Ensure Police Reports of all volunteers are complete
Coordinate young adults and Holocaust survivors for all programs
Report to Director if Holocaust survivor needs further assistance

B.A (Sociology, Gerontology, Business), MSW (Preferred)
Experience with logistics and coordination
Jewish communal understanding
Interest and care of Holocaust survivors

Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life, Chair
2 Chairs required (Logistical and Event)
Honorary Chair--Holocaust Survivor
Oversee Senior Prom committee, comprised of the following:
• Marching of the Living 2012 participants
• March of the Living Alumni (Young Professionals)
• MOL Post Programming Coordinator
• In Kind Sponsorship
• Financial Sponsorship
• Entertainment and Event Team
• Invitation Team
• Budget Team

Criteria that Enhance Competitiveness: 

There are two avenues by which we will grow: 1) Fiscally and 2) Participatory numbers
1. We will be able to generate income through our The Unbroken Telephone and The Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life.
a. The Unbroken Telephone project will be comprised of 4-5 young adults and one survivor. Survivors and/ or their families will sponsor these groups with a donation of $1800/ year. This money will go towards The Unbroken Telephone as well as the other services we provide.
b. The Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life will be our annual event and any surplus money (outside of covering costs of the event) will be given to The Yellow Rose to pay for staff and our initiatives budget.

2) By our third year, our participation numbers will snowball. As we draw closer to a time when Holocaust survivors will be no longer, our participation numbers will continue to increase as the pressure rolls in. Young adults will recruit an additional 4-5 members to retell and teach the stories of a survivor by using various media clippings, footage etc. and build their own cohesive group and (gd willing) if survivor is still alive, survivor will the sessions.

Replicable in many Canadian Jewish communities as well as abroad. The Yellow Rose will recruit other Jewish Communities, both within Canada and United States to pass on legacies. This urgent phenomenon will inevitably attract other communities as they begin to realize that we are truly in a Holocaust Remembrance emergency.
The March of the Living is a valuable organization that will help us recruit The Yellow Rose and help us build our base.

With survivors passing away far too fast, we need to be able to capture their stories and maximize the amount of time we are spending with them before they go. Thus, The Yellow Rose enables us to do so by providing innovative programming such as our The Unbroken Telephone as well as the Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life. The Yellow Rose is taking an active role in ensuring we truly never forget.