Please Join Us for Witness Theater

Their stories will touch your heart.
Their resilience will give you new hope for the future…

Please join us for WiTNESS THEATER

April 15-16, 2015
Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day

High school students in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx will re-enact critical moments from the lives of local Holocaust survivors. Experience an evening you'll long remember as these heroes pass their life-changing memories to a new generation.

These unique and personal performances represent an intergenerational journey – the culmination of months of collaboration between the students and survivors, as mutual respect, friendship and trust have evolved.

The healing power of Witness Theater promises to touch all of us. We look forward to welcoming you.

JCC Manhattan

(JCC Manhattan performances include students from Heschel and Trinity High Schools)
Wednesday, April 15, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.
334 Amsterdam Avenue
For reservations:
Info: 646.505.5708

Thursday, April 16, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.
The Abraham Joshua Heschel School
Roanna Shorofsky Theater
30 West End Avenue/New York
For reservations:
Info: 646.505.5708

SAR High School

Wednesday, April 15, 2015, at 7:00 p.m.
503 West 259th Street/Riverdale
For reservations:
Info: witnesstheater@sarhighschool.org

Yeshivah of Flatbush

Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School
1609 Avenue J/Brooklyn
Info: sshatzkes@flatbush.org

For more information call 212-971-7764 or witnesstheater@selfhelp.net

There is no admission fee for these performances.

About Witness Theater
Witness Theater was conceived by Irit and Ezra Dagan and developed by JCD-Eshel in Israel. It was brought to New York in 2012 by Selfhelp Community Services. This year, Witness Theater is a collaboration of Selfhelp, UJA Federation and The JCC Manhattan, SAR High School, and the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School.

Please Join Us for Witness Theater



March 9, 2015, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC

Maestro Murry Sidlin leads solo quartet and orchestra during an impassioned performance of Defiant Requiem at Lincoln Center.

The triumphant return of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín is set for March 9 in New York City. This amazing evening is made possible by a collaboration between Selfhelp Community Services, UJA-Federation of New York, and The Defiant Requiem Foundation.

Through its haunting and complex melodies and lyrics, conceived of and directed by world-renowned maestro Murry Sidlin, Defiant Requiem tells the story of the courageous Jewish prisoners in the Theresienstadt concentration camp who performed the famous Verdi Requiem while experiencing the depths of human degradation. The drama of this Requiem Mass is matched only by the strength and perseverance of its performers, who found the inspiration to raise their voices in song as if to say, “We will sing to the Nazis what we cannot say to them.”

Read more…


Click here to read Selfhelp’s 2014 annual report, featuring many of the programs and initiatives designed to add vibrancy and quality to the lives of those we serve.

2014 Annual Report


Virtual Senior Center Launches in Nassau County

Virtual Senior Center, NassauWe are delighted to announce the official launch of the Long Island Virtual Senior Center – a new collaboration of the Selfhelp/Kimmel nonprofit partnership – and a high tech innovation designed to help reduce the crippling emotional and physical effects of social isolation among homebound seniors.

We owe the Long Island VSC’s speedy development to the tireless work of our Kimmel and Selfhelp team members, to a planning grant from the Long Island Community Foundation, a game-changing $100,000 grant from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, and additional critical support from the Manhasset Community Fund and Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies. (read the press release)

The UUCSR hosted our celebration which drew attendees from a wide range of community groups, elected officials, and our very own VSC participants who told the audience live on a giant screen, just what a difference the VSC has made in their lives.

Long Island’s very first VSC participant, Jamy Kanas Santoro, wowed the crowd in person with an articulate and heartfelt description of what the VSC means to her. “This has the potential to be a great, great thing,” she explained.“ I think it will actually save lives!” She also gave Howard Kimmel, Kimmel’s legendary founder, a personal demonstration of the VSC homepage and offered a rundown of her favorite classes.

Read the rest of the story…


Selfhelp and Friends Unveil Tech-savvy, Affordable Senior Residential Complex in Flushing

Affordable Senior Residential Complex in Flushing

A shared dream came true for us about a week ago – the culmination of years of effort and collaboration – resulting in the official opening of Selfhelp KVII Apartments. This tech-savvy affordable residential complex for seniors in Flushing sets new standards in terms of quality, security, high tech services, “green” features and more, that are sure to enhance daily life for our residents.

We were thrilled to share the moment with so many who have worked so hard to achieve this milestone and deliver a housing model that may indeed be replicated across the country. Many thanks to our dedicated project partners: New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Enterprise Community Partners and JP Morgan Chase, area elected officials and dignitaries whose support, enthusiasm and determination has made this a cause for celebration for many years to come.

We hope you will take a few minutes to enjoy these news features about our 9th affordable residential complex for seniors.

Click to watch the NY1 video.
Click to read the Queens Courier article.
Click to read the Queens Chronicle article.


2014 Lifeline of Hope Gala Honors Supporters; Proceeds Will Help Thousands

Close to $1.3 million was raised through Selfhelp’s Lifeline of Hope Gala, touching the lives of 20,000 Selfhelp clients, including Holocaust survivors, seniors in need and others underserved in the New York City area.  The life-changing services will include high quality and compassionate home care, our innovative Virtual Senior Center technology programs, senior center activities, affordable housing and more.

Gala revenue will ensure that Selfhelp’s pioneering programs continue to provide those most vulnerable with every opportunity to live independently with dignity. In celebrating our 78th year of service Selfhelp paid tribute to three exceptional honorees, photos at left:

Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, a driving force in aiding Holocaust survivors, served as Honorary Gala Chair, assisted by Busso Von Alvensleben, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Gala co-chairs Donald Mullen and James Zelter, and gala committee chair Debrah Lee Charatan set new standards for success through their determination, energy and creativity.

If you have not yet had a chance to enjoy the “Building a Lifeline of Hope” video previewed at the Gala, we are pleased to offer a chance to see it now. Building a Lifeline of Hope video

Many thanks to all those who made our 2014 Gala one that will help so many, for many years to come.


Senate Hearing Focuses on the Plight of Country’s Holocaust Survivors

Selfhelp Community Services’ Testimony Reveals Critical Needs as Thousands of Survivors Live in Poverty, Illness, Isolation

WASHINGTON DC – Jan 15, 2014 – Leaders from Selfhelp Community Services, the nation’s largest provider of services to Holocaust survivors, revealed surprising and compelling testimony today before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, spotlighting the critical and escalating needs of the nation’s 120,000 Holocaust survivors.

The hearing, “Aging in Comfort: Assessing the Special Needs of America’s Holocaust Survivors,” comes at a time of increased attention to survivors. Vice President Biden recently announced a four-point White House initiative to aid survivors, which will include the appointment of a special envoy to enhance and expedite efforts to help survivors living in poverty. In addition many elected officials and advocates are supporting an amendment to the Older Americans Act (provision S.999) to provide care and services to aid Holocaust survivors who are dealing with the cumulative physical and emotional trauma that began decades ago.

Elihu Kover, VP Nazi Victim Services for Selfhelp, presents testimony to Senate Committee on Aging regarding the critical needs of the country's Holocaust survivors. Stuart C. Kaplan (left), Selfhelp CEO, also spoke with committee members and answered questions. The hearing was streamed live from the Senate's site for public viewing.

“Holocaust survivors are growing older and frailer,” Elihu Kover, VP Nazi Victim Services of Selfhelp Community Services, told the committee. “Prolonged periods of starvation, exposure to severe weather conditions… and experiencing and witnessing unspeakable atrocities take a severe toll on body and mind. Many of these problems only surface in old age, having been hidden during their working years when the survivors struggled and made a new life for themselves.” While there are some younger survivors today who are in their late 60’s, the vast majority of survivors are 80-100 years old, Mr. Kover noted.

Video of the complete hearing, and supplemental written materials are available at http://www.aging.senate.gov/hearings for “Aging in Comfort: Assessing the Special Needs of America’s Holocaust Survivors.” (Mr. Kover’s testimony begins at 1:08:20) Click these links to read the transcript of Mr. Kover’s oral testimony and the written materials submitted to the committee.

Continue reading about Mr. Kover's testimony



Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center And Learn Why Participants and Media are Calling it “Transformational!” and more…

“My whole life’s changed. I’m not shut out anymore. I’m part of something.”– Yetta, retired teacher, VSC Participant

Click here to meet the participants and learn more


Lifeline of Hope Campaign Launches; Annual Report Salutes our Supporters

2013 Annual Report

As a fitting tie-in with this celebratory holiday season, the sharing of our annual report also marks the beginning of our Lifeline of Hope Campaign. We are ecstatic to announce that all contributions to the Lifeline of Hope Campaign will be matched up to $500,000, thanks to the extraordinary commitment… (click to read more)


TF Cornerstone and Selfhelp Partner for Mega Development in Long Island City

Hunter's Point South

TF Cornerstone and Selfhelp have been selected to develop Phase II of the City’s massive Hunter’s Point South development in Long Island City. It will stand as the single largest moderate- and middle-income affordable housing project under the Bloomberg Administration. Selfhelp will provide low-income seniors in designated apartments with state-of-the-art home care and support services as well as high tech amenities and programs to enhance daily life.

Read more about this exciting milestone.


Congrats to Selfhelp Xbox Bowling Champs!

Xbox Bowling Team

They came. They Xbox virtual-bowled. And they conquered, becoming the NYC champions of the first Xbox virtual bowling tournament sponsored by Microsoft, NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA) and NYC’s Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications. But somewhere along the way, our seniors became fast friends not only of their own teammates, but of their competitors as well.

Our winning team from Selfhelp Benjamin Rosenthal Prince Street Innovative Senior Center in Queens invites you to see some of the highlights from their battle against the SAGE center from Manhattan. These clips are sure to amuse, enlighten, and inspire you as you see them build camaraderie, self esteem, skill, better fitness and a healthy respect for everyone involved.

Congrats to all!

Watch on YouTube: Flushing senior center bowls over Manhattan rivals

Read the Daily News Article: Legends of the lanes! Seniors compete for crown in virtual bowling competition


Selfhelp’s Elihu Kover interviewed on CBS radio station WFAN

WFAN radio’s popular host Bob Salter offers a compelling interview with Elihu Kover, Selfhelp’s VP of Nazi Victim Services. You’re sure to learning something new and amazing about Selfhelp, New York City’s Holocaust survivors, volunteer opportunities to join our "friendly visiting" program, lend a hand in our coffee house social programs for survivors, support programs to address the survivors’ critical needs, help write memoirs or even find out how your high school can learn more about our Witness Theater dramatic collaborations between students and survivors. Whether you have 10 minutes… or 40 to hear the whole discussion, this interview is sure to enlighten you and touch your heart.

Click to enjoy Bob Salter’s interview with Elihu Kover.


NEW: "Holocaust Survivors in New York – Today Through 2025"

Eye-opening information including trends, needs and demographics about New York's Holocaust survivors, from Selfhelp.

Read Holocaust Survivors in New York Today through 2025

Selfhelp - Holocaust Survivors in New York



2012 Annual Report  

Enjoy our annual report and see how your support is helping to change the face of aging.

Click to read Selfhelp 2012 Annual Report

If, in reading our annual report, you find a particular program or service that inspires you and which you'd personally like to support, please don't hesitate to contact us at (212) 971-7621(212) 971-7621 for sponsorship opportunities. Or you may make your gift online, by clicking here. Your gift can change a life.



Virtual Senior Center

Word is spreading about Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center (VSC). The Virtual Senior Center (VSC), an innovative project made possible by a public-private partnership between Selfhelp Community Services, Microsoft, the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), is changing lives.

The VSC enhances the lives of homebound seniors by using computer, video and Internet technology — in the seniors’ homes and at their local senior center — to create an interactive experience that reduces social isolation, promotes wellness, and provides better access to community services. Read More

Click here for more links to recent articles and videos about Selfhelp’s VSC.


Selfhelp has a new President of the Board, Raymond V.J. Schrag.  Click here to read more.


NEW HOUSING OPPORTUNITY -- Click here for details.


Selfhelp Community Services and FEGS Health & Human Services Launch New Care Management Company -- SinglePoint Care Network. Click here to read more.

Elihu Kover was featured in the August 24, 2012 issue of The New England Psychologist in the article, PSTD Support Remains Pertinent for Holocaust Survivors. Click here to read article.


On Tuesday, August 14, 2012, NYI visited The Selfhelp Fresh Meadows Senior Program where one of our seniors, Claire Goldberg and her friends celebrated her 100th birthday.  Click here to view news clip.


Microsoft Accessibility Update published the story, “Technology ‘Saved My Life’: Making Life Better for Boomers, Seniors” on July 09, 2012, which featured Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center.  The article discussed how technology solutions help baby boomers and seniors successfully address many of the issues associated with aging. Click here for story.


Selfhelp Volunteers were recognized by Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) and City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) for their services.  Click here to read story from The New York Daily News (Thursday, July 26, 2012).


The July/August 2012 issue of LeadingAge Magazine published the article, "Transformational Technologies for Seniors: Marrying Dreams with Practicalities" by Stuart C. Kaplan.

Click here to read article.


Selfhelp was awarded the first grant from The Consumer Electronics Association Foundation on June 27, 2012.  This will allow Selfhelp to expand the virtual senior center in New York and beyond.  Click here to read more about this exciting achievement.  Also visit our News & Events 2012 for news items on this topic and more.

Click here for Gary Shapiro's, Forbes Op-Ed, Transformative Technology for Seniors.


Leo Asen, Selfhelp's Vice President of Senior Communities, was interviewed on "Up Close With Diana Williams" on Sunday, June 24, 2012.  The show's topic was Aging in New York City.
Click here to view Leo Asen's interview.


Selfhelp's Innovative Senior Center featured in Wall Street Journal online version on May 23, 2012. Click here to read story.


Stuart Kaplan (l-to-r) joins Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Barrios-Paoli at the podium at Selfhelp’s Benjamin Rosenthal Prince Street Innovative Senior in Queens on April 3, 2012.

A Very Special Visit from Mayor Bloomberg

Selfhelp’s Benjamin Rosenthal Prince Street Innovative Senior Center in Queens received a visit from the Mayor on April 3, 2012. Mayor Bloomberg and Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Commissioner for NYC’s Department for Aging, witnessed a Virtual Senior Center music class, chatted with a Virtual Senior Center participant via Skype, observed a Tai Chi class, mingled with seniors in the cafeteria, and were introduced to the telehealth kiosk. The visit was covered on the local news that evening by WNBC-TV, WABC-TV and NY1. In addition articles appeared in print and online media…Read more


On August 12, 2011, Selfhelp Community Services led 41 organizations in filing an amicus or "friend of the court" brief supporting the New York City Medicaid Program, run by the Human Resources Administration ("HRA") which the U.S. Department of Justice has charged with filing "false claims" for its approval of 24-hour personal care services. For more information see http://wnylc.com/health/news/12/
CRAIN'S Health Newsletter August 17th

TeleHealth Kiosks Help Seniors Age Independently

Selfhelp is collaborating with Jewish Home Lifecare to pilot two congregate telehealth kiosks. The kiosk installations were made possible through a one-year grant to Selfhelp from Enterprise Community Partners in recognition of Selfhelp's innovative use of technology to support older adults living safely, comfortably and independently in their homes. The grant enables Selfhelp to demonstrate how multi-patient telehealth kiosks can be used within two senior housing complexes to improve health literacy and wellness among the residents Read more.










Selfhelp NextGen – Selfhelp’s new Young Leadership Group

Click here to learn about this new initiative for young professionals in the New York City area.
Learn More





Selfhelp Community Services applauds the unanimous passage of a Congressional resolution to support programs that meet the distinct needs of aging Holocaust survivors.