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Largest ever Young Patrons Dinner raises £150,000 for Jewish Care’s services

Ivor Perl BEM with granddaughter Lia Bratt

Last week, Ivor Perl BEM spoke at the Young Patrons Dinner on the eve of his 90th birthday which was on Friday, 4 February. Ivor, who is a Holocaust survivor, lives at Jewish Care’s Selig Court Retirement Living apartments in Golders Green and spoke about the ways Jewish Care has supported him from a young age through different stages of his life.

450 young people came together at the dinner, held at The Londoner, for the first time in two years at Jewish Care’s largest ever Young Patrons Dinner. Raising £150,000 for the charity’s vital services, this was a true demonstration of the dedication younger supporters have for Jewish Care. The evening focused on the impact Jewish Care makes on more than 10,000 lives each week, and specifically the work of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre.

Following a short video explaining the work of the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, which is the only place of its kind anywhere in the UK, supporting more than 300 survivors and refugees through a specific programme of social, cultural and therapeutic activities, guests heard a moving speech from Ivor Perl BEM. Ivor regularly attends Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre.

Ivor spoke about his experiences and the importance being able to stay connected to others.

Ivor said, “At every difficult point in my life, Jewish Care has been there for me.

It started in 1945 when I was just 13 years old. I was sent here after being liberated from Auschwitz where many of my family, including my parents, had perished. I was young and scared – I couldn’t speak a word of English, a stranger in a country that was so far away from my home in Hungary, and I desperately missed my family. Alone and in despair, it was the predecessor of Jewish Care, the Jewish Welfare Board, which took me in – I don’t know what I would have done without them. They gave me somewhere to live, fed me and taught me a trade I learnt for life – they gave me a start in life and showed me such warmth, support and Jewish Care when I needed them the most. I will never forget the kindness they showed me. They were my family.

Years later and back on my feet, I was blessed with happiness when I met my wife Rhoda, I was completely in love, and we went on to raise four wonderful children.

However, the memories of the Holocaust never leave you and talking about it with my family brought back many traumatic moments, so what followed was me becoming a member of the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre many years ago and sadly in this time my dear late wife Rhoda receiving a diagnosis of severe dementia, which meant Jewish Care again stepped in and cared for her in what was then known as Lady Sarah Cohen House until she sadly passed away.

I’ve since moved to Selig Court in order to be closer to the centre, and I find myself here at 89 years of age saying again how in the hardest of times during the pandemic, they were there for me again and why the centre is so important to me and others.

Money doesn’t always change things.

Money won’t bring back members of my family who died at the hands of the Nazis, it won’t wipe away some of the horrendous atrocities I’ve witnessed, it won’t bring back my dear late wife, nor will it bring back the many people who have sadly lost their lives to Covid over the last two years and undo the hardships and loneliness that so many of us have suffered during this hard time.

However, money does enable Jewish Care to continue to be there for people like me and to offer us support and love, and now more than ever, I really believe that we all need love, which myself and others get in abundance from Jewish Care’ staff and volunteers.”

Last night’s Young Patrons Dinner fell the day before Ivor’s 90th birthday. Guests sung a very moving rendition of “happy birthday” to Ivor as he was presented with a cake.

The crowd also gave a standing ovation to all the carers and frontline staff at Jewish Care for their work throughout the pandemic and for keeping the older members of our community safe and protected.

Rob Sher, Chair, Young Jewish Care said:

“It’s fantastic to see a record breaking 450 people here tonight after two years without the Young Patrons Dinner. Whether guests were hearing about Jewish Care for the first time or are already a young patron, volunteer, or part of a committee, we are so grateful for their generous contributions. With Young Jewish Care, there are so many ways to get involved, and we hope that many more will be encouraged to do so. It will have a tremendously positive impact on your life and on the lives of the older people that Jewish Care supports.”

Adam Overlander-Kaye, Director of Fundraising and Community Engagement said:

“We are delighted that so many young people care so deeply about Jewish Care and the services we provide. After two years of not being able to hold the dinner, we were so pleased that there were so many young people who came out to show their support for Jewish Care. These young people are the future of our community and Jewish Care, and we are extremely grateful for their generous contributions and donations last night.”

To donate to Jewish Care, please visit jewishcare.org/donate or call 020 8922 2600.

Edel Harris

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