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‘The Jewish community in Britain celebrate Passover’, 1939, Harold Tomlin, Daily Herald Archive, National Media Museum / SSPL

Today is the last day of Jewish Passover, or Pesach. Looking through our archives I spotted this photograph, taken during Passover in 1939 at the Home for Aged Jews on Nightingale Lane in London.

(via shalomlife)


When Anne Frank was in hiding for just over two years in Amsterdam during WWII, she took delight in a chestnut tree outside her window. Such an image represented a symbol of hope for her. Now, saplings from that very tree will be distributed to 11 locations as part of an iniative preserving Frank’s legacy as well as promoting tolerance.

According to Haaretz via the Associated Press, sapling taken from the tree’s seeds will be planted this month. The Anne Frank Center USA picked 11 U.S. locations, including a park memorializing September 11 victims in New York City. Additional states receiving a sapling include Indiana, Massachusetts, and California.

"We know that the tree was a sign of hope of Anne Frank who was unable to leave her living quarters," said Yvonne Simons, executive director of The Anne Frank Center USA. "She wrote about it in a diary. For us, the tree portrays a symbolism of hope and growth and renewal."

"The heart of our mission is tolerance. … Tolerance is really essential for being able to bring better welfare to everybody," said center spokesman Mike Clary.

What a wonderful way to pay tribute to Anne Frank!

(Photo via AP)

We know that many of you are celebrating the start of Passover this evening. To honor this holiday, please check out some of the moving photos Yad Vashem has in their archive featuring Seder night before, during and after the Holocaust. The one below features a group gathered for a Seder table reading in Warsaw, Poland during the war. 


Also, please stay tuned for iVolunteer's upcoming Pesach campaign. Holocaust survivors, Jewish or not, understand the meaning of freedom more deeply than most of us could ever imagine.

Growing older can often mean less independence and, unfortunately, a loss in dignity often accompanies that loss of freedom and independence. Their independence can only be guaranteed by a strong social network and access to resources, both of which iVolunteer provides.

iVolunteer will soon launch the Pesach Campaign in support of raising funds to expand our direct assistance program. We’ll share details soon!


That magical moment in which we set the holiday table. Chag kasher v’sameachhh! #pesach #passover @netasheli @milichaya


With Passover just around the corner, we’d thought we’d get into the spirit of the holiday and share something tasty. A dear friend, Corey, makes this special Mandel Breit recipe every year and it’s positively yummy. 

1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup cake meal
1/2 cup potato starch
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Small amount of matzo meal for dusting

Cream margarine and sugar. Next, add eggs and beat thoroughly until mixed. Add cake meal and potato starch, slowly (beater on low). Then add chips and vanilla.

Grab your cookie sheet and lightly dust with matzo meal. Divide the mix into three loaves (long loaves = more, slightly thinner cookies; slightly rounded loaves = fewer, slightly thicker cookies). Bake for 20 minutes at 375 or until lightly brown. Cut into slices when done and then put back in oven for 10 minutes.

What’s your Passover must-have? Please share with us!


Book of Odds recently shared a remarkable story with us about a Holocaust survivor named Ruth Neray, who was arrested at age 19 by SS soldiers and eventually taken to Auschwitz. For a year, she endured countless beatings and nearly starved, but the spark inside her heart would ultimately save her. Or as she references in the video below, there was a sense of “peace” that had come over her. But this calm feeling would be tested many times.



And, what better way to cover your Matzah than with this decorative Matzah cover from the early 20th century? Have something similar for your Seder?

The cover features Hebrew and Aramaic excerpts from the Passover meal (the seder), and scenes from then contemporary Eretz Yisrael (at the time British Mandate Palestine), ranging from the ancient western wall of the Holy Temple Mout to a matzah factory. 

Oh, and what’s matzah?  It’s an unleavened bread similar to the heavy bread the ancient Hebrews ate as slaves in Egypt. Jews eat Matzah for the eight days of Passover to commemorate their release from slavery.

Matzah Cover, early 20th Century, Land of Israel, 2004.068  


We were moved by an inspiring story from The Today Show this week featuring a Holocaust survivor who’s searching for his twin brother. 

Menachem B. of Israel hasn’t seen his brother, Jolli, in over six decades. As four year olds, they were taken to Auschwitz, but eventually separated just two days before the concentration camp was liberated in May 1945.

Thoughts of his other half have have remained a big piece of Menachem’s heart, and he’s working with geneaologist Ayana KimRon with hopes of finding Jolli.

Facebook page has been set up to help spread the word. Nearly 40,000 people in 19 languages have chimed in with their support. 

Survivor of the Month: Terry Nayman

Born in Lask, Poland in 1925, Terry is the only member of her family to survive the concentration camps of the Holocaust. In the more than two hours I spent with Terry, I learned that she had a good religious upbringing and a family with two rabbis (father and grandfather). Terry told me that all but one of her four siblings were taken to concentration camps in the early 1940s. Followed by her parents, who Terry never saw after their separation in 1942. After living two years as a factory worker in Lodz Ghetto, Poland, Terry was transported to Auschwitz in 1944. She survived the concentration camp by rationing her food, looking out for herself and by sheer determination. “I’m blessed because I have a very strong willpower.” Terry told me her story candidly and honestly, and I feel honored to know her know and to have spent time with her. “I’m not bitter. That keeps me alive.” –Terry, 87 years old.

This is an installment of an ongoing series, highlighting one survivor we visit each month. These stories were recorded by Wendy Goodman and the portraits were taken by Steven Meyer.

This incredible photo, published by The Times of Israel, features Ágnes Keleti, a Holocaust survivor who is a former Olympic gymnast. The now 92-year-old Keleti achieved great success during the 1952 Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland and the 1956 Summer Games in Melbourne, earning a total of 10 medals. Plus, she’s a 10-time World Champion.

Just check out that joyous look on her face! A smile that says it all! At iVolunteerNY, our mission is to bring such happiness to some of the New York City-based survivors, who are frail and lonely. Having the chance to provide companionship and cater to special needs, while giving them the respect and dignity they deserve, is truly an honor.