Kavod: Bringing Dignity to Survivors Through Photography
By Amy Krakovitz
Kavod … the Hebrew for dignity, for honor. It’s imbedded in the Ten Commandments with the mitzvah to honor our fathers and mothers. But how much dignity can someone have if he or she is living in poverty? Statistics show that 25% of US Holocaust survivors, and upwards of 30% worldwide, are living below the poverty line. When you include those who are just one major event from the edge of poverty, the numbers are staggering. John Pregulman, a native of Chattanooga, created Kavod, a non-profit to raise funds for survivors in Memphis, with the hopes of expanding the assistance across the US. “I started Kavod with the mission to raise money and provide emergency assistance for those who need it, so they can live their remaining years with dignity.”
The project was born when a friend of his who was executive director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum asked Pregulman to take some pictures of some of the Holocaust survivors in the area. He says he just “fell in love” with the people and conceived the idea of photographing as many survivors as possible across the nation. Pregulman charges nothing for the photos and gives the subjects copies of their portraits. He simply uses the photos on his website for Kavod, with the caveat that not all the people pictured are necessarily recipients of the assistance (recipients’ identities are 100% confidential).
On April 24 and 25, Pregulman visited Charlotte and took photographs of some of the local Holocaust survivors. Susan CernyakSpata, Suly Chenkin, Henry Hirschmann, and Daisy ShapiroRieke were among the subjects who were exquisitely captured in Pregulman’s camera. For more information on Kavod, visit http://kavodensuringdignity.com/. Here are a few of the photos taken while Pregulman was in town.