• Staff Writer

KleinLife Receives Holocaust Survivor Initiative Grant from Jewish Federations of North America


Revive participants enjoying the Dance Movement Therapy class in 2018.


Jewish Federations of North America’s Center on Aging and Trauma, a project of their Holocaust Survivor Initiative, has awarded KleinLife $50,000 over a 2 year period. This grant follows a previous grant received that allowed KleinLife to establish a Revive program in 2018.


“We’re excited to be able to continue providing Person-Centered and Trauma-Informed (PCTI) wellness services to Holocaust Survivors through this grant,” said Mariya Keselman-Mekler, KleinLife’s Counseling & Program Manager, Creative Arts Therapist, who manages the Revive program. “The goal of our program is to provide Holocaust Survivors (HS) from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) in our Northeast Philadelphia community opportunities to improve their physical, mental, and social well-being.”


Currently, KleinLife serves 220 FSU Holocaust Survivors with a variety of health, wellness, nutrition, and socialization services utilizing a holistic PCTI approach, focused on improving participants’ physical, psychological, social, and spiritual wellness. Through a recent Revive program evaluation, 86% of participants have experienced an improvement in physical wellness and a 93% improvement in psychological wellness. KleinLife anticipates that these results were hindered due to the pandemic and that participants today experience more social isolation.


“The pandemic has certainly challenged us to continue our program while our participants remain in their homes,” mentions Keselman-Mekler, “but with the help of Jewish Federations of North America, we are able to continue providing virtual programs to combat loneliness and a safe space for positive self-expression and coping.” Over the past several months, the programs’ Holocaust Survivors have received technological support, as well as the option through a partnership with Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JFCS) to receive a Uniper kit to make KleinLife’s virtual programming more accessible. Some virtual programs being offered are yoga & meditation, creative arts therapy, support groups, and educational courses.


KleinLife will continue to offer regularly scheduled virtual wellness classes, socialization programming, and individual counseling until it is deemed safe to meet in person. When it is safe and permitted by the state, they hope to merge into a hybrid model before going back to its original operation.