MorseLife Health System, the premier provider of health care and residential services for seniors in Palm Beach County, and Boynton Beach-based NEXT GENERATIONS of Holocaust Survivors, founded primarily by children and grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors, have announced their merger to offer multi-dimensional educational resources to teach the lessons of the Holocaust.
“As the only health care system in Palm Beach County fully equipped to meet the medical, housing, and financial needs of impoverished Survivors and their families, MorseLife created the NOW for Holocaust Survivors initiative in 2019,” explained Keith A. Myers, MorseLife’s President, and CEO. “In working with NEXT GENERATIONS, we heard the lessons of the Holocaust from the authentic voices of those who experienced genocide and their children. With an unfortunate increase in anti-Semitism, together we can reach out through education and empower future generations to make sure the Holocaust is never forgotten and never repeated.”
United as one organization to create the MorseLife Holocaust Living and Learning Experience, NEXT GENERATIONS at MorseLife will provide programming, speakers, and education to Palm Beach County community using NEXT GENERATIONS signature educational model. NEXT GENERATIONS will continue to bring Holocaust lesson plans into local 5th through 12th-grade classrooms, universities, and community programs that feature Holocaust Survivors and their descendants sharing their impactful, first-hand accounts of their experiences.
South Florida has one of the largest populations in the nation of Survivors and those Survivors who were children during the Holocaust. Moreover, in a 2020 study commissioned by the Claims Conference, Florida was one of the states with the lowest Holocaust knowledge among those under 40, with 61% not knowing that six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. In addition, the study indicated that half of Florida respondents were unable to identify Auschwitz as a concentration camp.
This data motivated MorseLife to establish the Holocaust Living and Learning Experience. As the memory of the Holocaust fades for many, and anti-Semitism is on the rise, the lessons about the impact of bullying and the language of hatred must be addressed. In addition, the skills of being an upstander rather than a bystander or just an observer must be taught to young and old so that we never forget. This crucial educational component complements MorseLife’s existing NOW for Holocaust Survivors Initiative, which provides vital help to Survivors and their families.
“NEXT GENERATIONS and MorseLife are committed to not only assisting Survivors and their children in the present but also to transforming the future,” said NEXT GENERATIONS Founder and President Nancy Dershaw. “This union is significant as MorseLife honors the NEXT GENERATIONS name, supports its mission and continues its dream. The Living and Learning Experience will support the legacy of NEXT GENERATIONS to continue the diligent work of the past 18 years.”
The Living and Learning Experience centerpiece will be the Gendelman Children’s Holocaust Memorial, with a 26-foot-high bronze tree sculpture created by artist Bruce Gendelman. Visitors will have the opportunity to reflect in one of MorseLife’s tranquil gardens or beside the bronze tree with its 25-foot-wide canopy adorned with 5,000 ceramic butterflies painted by local children in memory of children who were murdered in the Holocaust. The memorial will offer a serene setting to contemplate the need for freedom, hope, resilience, and change.
To learn more or make a donation, visit morselifefoundation.org.
About MorseLife Health System
MorseLife serves more than 3,600 seniors every day on its campus in West Palm Beach and through its community outreach programs. Founded in 1983, MorseLife is a provider of health care and residential services for seniors in Palm Beach County. A charitable, not-for-profit organization, its programs also include short term rehabilitation, long term care, independent and assisted living, memory care assisted living, hospice, home health care, care management, meals-on-wheels and PACE. Since its beginnings, MorseLife has built a reputation and tradition of caring for seniors with excellence, dignity and compassion. For more information, visit morselife.org.