“In youth, the days are short, and the years are long. In old age, the years are short and days long”.
- Pave Paul VI
Becoming older is a phase that usually leads to big changes in life, both physically and mentally. People that one used to laugh and cry with throughout their life are no longer amongst them. They are gone. Left with the eldres is loneliness in a life filled with experiences, joys and wounds. How can one's life be filled with meaning when one can no longer do what he or she loves to do together with his or her loved ones?
About 11% of the Israeli population, or 939.000 people, are elders. Many of them have gone through a life with conflicts, wars, uncertainty and anxiety. Some have grown up without parents, siblings or other family members because of Holocaust, and some even survives the horrific acts of Holocaust themselves. According to a survey in 2016, more than 200.000 people from the Israeli population are survivors from Holocaust and its inhumane sufferings. The same survey shows that 33% of the elderly population (65+) has limited mobility. The same percentage feel lonely. Many struggle to maintain sufficient physical activity, and their ability to socialise with others is limited.
Jews, Arabs and others who believe in Jesus are even more affected. They have lived in a society where believing has had its price. They have been a minority which has fought hard for their rights in the Israeli society. When their age limits their mobility, it doesn't only impact them physically and mentally, it also hinders them in living out their faith. For many, the congregation and fellowship are amongst the most important happenings in life. The safe foundation in an otherwise turbulent and insecure life.
The Ebenezer Home in Haifa is one of the few homes for the elderly in Israel that also care for their spiritual needs. The residents get to explore and unfold their creative abilities, build good friendships and stay active. The daily devotions, prayer and fellowship not only create goodness and safety in the last phase of life, it also adds purpose and daily joy. As one of the residents put it: "I have worked a large part of my life in a congregation, but coming here has changed my life. The faith has again started to grow".
Now, you have the opportunity to ensure a safe and purposeful time for the elders by running for the home or supporting financially. Even though the age comes with certain limits and challenges, the last years on one's life can also be the most giving and meaningful, and you can be part of giving more people the chance to experience it!
You can read more about the health situation for the elders in Israel on the following link: brookdale.jdc.org.il (PDF)