The Obama administration
named a special envoy to the Holocaust survivor community.
Aviva Sufian, a staff
member at the Health Department’s Administration for Community Living, will be
the special envoy for U.S. Holocaust survivor services, a White House
announcement said Friday.
“Her work as Special
Envoy will focus on those survivors currently living in poverty, as well as
those who may not be receiving services for which they are currently eligible,”
according to the statement.
The appointment arises
from a pledge last month by Vice President Joe Biden to address the needs of
aging survivors and as Congress considers legislation for that purpose.
It stems in part from a
growing consensus among experts that Holocaust survivors should age in place
and avoid the institutional care that health providers and government services
generally recommend for the infirm.
trigger traumatic memories for survivors.
The White House
statement said that 25 percent of the estimated 150,000 Holocaust survivors in
the United States live below the poverty line, as opposed to 9 percent among
the general over-65 population.
Sufian previously worked
for the New York City Department for the Aging and at a “large nonprofit
organization that provided support for Holocaust survivors living in the New
York metropolitan area,” the White House statement said.
Also on Friday, parallel
to the White House announcement, the Jewish Federations of North America
unveiled a new initiative “to assess and communicate the needs of the Holocaust
survivor programs,” the umbrella group said in a statement. Mark Wilf, a major
federations donor and an owner of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, will chair the