The Holocaust Survivor Support Fund sponsored a baking event Friday, Aug. 25, at the Marcus Jewish Community Center’s Kuniansky Family Center to make apple cakes so local survivors could experience some special sweetness while celebrating Rosh Hashanah.

The event was the most recent conducted by HSSF, an initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta that creates engagement and outreach opportunities and raises money to care for survivors.

Diane Heller shows off a tray of finished apple cakes.

The day began with mixing and mingling among the roughly 20 bakers, who proceeded to bake 96 apple cakes. The bakers were paired up and given a basket with the ingredients for the cakes and all the necessary equipment.

Flour was shaken, eggs were cracked, juice was poured, and cinnamon was sprinkled. The bakers poured cake batter into paper cake holders, placed them on trays, and, with the help of Kuniansky Family Center Chef Howard, put them in the oven for baking.

Myrna Orphan (left) and Leslie Okin team up to prepare apple cakes for Holocaust survivors.

The bakers were treated to an engaging talk by Manuela Mendels Bornstein, a Holocaust survivor from France. She and her family, who lived in Paris before World War II, survived by hiding in southwestern France. Her story honored the “conspiracy of goodness” that saved them — from Parisian neighbors and friends, to members of the Resistance, to the grace of villagers who never revealed their whereabouts despite great danger to themselves.

“Manuela told her story with grace and fortitude that was overwhelming and astounding,” said Leslie Okin, a participant. “Hearing all she had experienced gave me perspective on my own daily challenges. “

The bakers packed the finished apple cakes in gift boxes for recipients to enjoy the following Monday at Café Europa, a social program for survivors provided by Jewish Family & Career Services.

The packaged apple cakes are ready for delivery.

Samantha Kurgan, the executive director of The Packaged Good, a local nonprofit focused on cultivating volunteerism in children, helped HSSF make paper flowerpots to accompany the apple cakes as gifts for the survivors.

“The Holocaust survivors living suffered such a bitter history. It was wonderful to add some sweetness to their lives by baking apple cakes for them to enjoy this Rosh Hashanah,” Michelle Simon said. “The morning we baked could not have been more meaningful.”

Cherie Aviv chairs the Holocaust Survivor Support Fund (JewishAtlanta.org/holocaustsurvivorsupportfund). To learn more about the fund, contact Susan Moray at smoray@jewishatlanta.org.