We wanted to take this moment to provide an update on the measures being taken during this unprecedented time. The Claims Conference community – lay leaders and staff, as well as our extended family of more than 300 global agencies, comprised of social workers, care managers, home care workers, and so many other stakeholders – is working through this challenging time to ensure consistency of service and the quality of care our survivors have come to expect from us.
Agencies have reported back that survivors are often asking, “why are you calling me so much,” and appreciate the added concern and ongoing devotion. The unflappable reserve we have seen from Holocaust survivors in the midst of even more adversity is a charge for all of us to continue our work in any way possible. In the face of uncertainty, this is a commitment we will continue to fulfill.
Last week, we held a webinar for Claims Conference Board members to outline some of the information we have and get updates from a handful of our agency partners in Israel, North America, the former Soviet Union and Italy. The following is a summary of the updates provided by our partners on that webinar:
During the webinar we heard from Elena Gemelli, Social Worker, and Ramesh Khordian, Case Manager at the Jewish Community of Milan. Here are some summary points from their updates:
During the webinar we heard from Limor Livnat, Chairperson at the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel. Here are some summary points from her update:
Former Soviet Union
During the webinar, we heard from Michal Frank, the Regional Director at the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in the former Soviet Union. Here are some summary points from her update:
During the webinar, we heard from Stuart Kaplan, CEO at Selfhelp Community Services of New York. Here are some summary points from his update:
The coming weeks undoubtedly will be very difficult for all of us. Circumstances have been changing rapidly, and we will likely circulate further updates as events warrant. For now, we wanted to let you know about some of the things we are doing at the Claims Conference to ensure funding needs are met, and every survivor is cared for.
We are in regular contact with our agency partners and have asked that they keep us up to date with any significant changes or obstacles resulting from the current events. Homecare, of course, will continue to pose a major concern but is now being addressed through a series of solutions as noted above. Our agency partners continue to investigate fallback solutions enabling them to check in with clients from home should the global situation worsen.
Globally, almost all Claims Conference staff is now working remotely. The Claims Conference has developed the technological and operational infrastructure for employees to work remotely when circumstances – as they do now – require. This should not interrupt the flow of business. If you need to reach us, the same phone numbers, emails and internal systems are operating as normal.
Compensation activities across the New York, Tel Aviv, and Frankfurt offices continues, and all compensation payments for the over 50,000 survivors who receive direct payments from the Claims Conference can be expected as usual.
We understand that these are unprecedented times, and we want you to know that we are prepared. As we navigate this together with our many partners, you can count on us to be flexible and present.
With wishes that you and yours are in good health, with blessings of Refuah Sh’lemah for any who are sick. We will continue to keep you updated as circumstances warrant.
Claims Conference President