Hannah, 25, looked like many other young women in San Francisco during an unusually cold week this month. Dressed in a purple down jacket, jeans and boots, she jiggled in place to stay warm as she waited in line outside the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Beneath a fuzzy hat, her hair was tidily combed; in her arms was a small terrier.
At a venue where people ordinarily line up for rock shows, Hannah was waiting for something very different. “Let’s see,” she said, pulling a card out of her purse and running down a printed checklist of services. “I want to get my California ID. I’m going to see the dentist. [The dog] needs veterinary care … and, of course, I’m going to talk to employment services.”
Emil Knopf, 80, is a Holocaust survivor, a past president of the Jewish fraternal organization B’nai B’rith, and a repeat PHC volunteer. Working as a client escort on Dec. 11, he greeted everyone he was tasked with showing around — many of them men much taller and more physically able than him — with a warm smile. Earlier in the morning at the Jewish learning session, looking over the three passages of text, participants had been asked to share which resonated with them and why. Knopf had pointed to the words penned by Raphael:
“We Jews know what it means to be homeless. By the end of the Holocaust, 6 million Jews had been exterminated and millions more uprooted from their homes all over Europe … during the 15th to 18th centuries, 15 to 25 percent of the Jewish community were either paupers or unemployed…more.