RESTORATION JOURNEY: HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS & LOVING CANADIANS @ THE SEA OF GALILEE
September 21st, 2016 – An amazing event took place in Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) just before the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days. The event, initiated by Aliyah Return Center in collaboration with Helping Hand Coalition, was held in honor of the Holocaust survivors and war veterans who are the founding fathers and pioneers of the State of Israel. This special occasion was attended by 80 Canadians who came all the way to Israel to celebrate and rejoice with 100 Holocaust survivors who live around the Sea of Galilee.
The mayor of Tiberias, Yossi Ben David, as well as other Tiberias officials blessed this event and welcomed many more initiatives like this in the near future. During the event, each of the Canadians personally blessed a Holocaust survivor with a special gold ring which was given by Christians from Canada who donated these gifts as a symbolic return of what was taken and robbed from them during the Holocaust. The event also included an incredible opera singer who performed Jewish folklore songs, a lot of dancing and then a dinner.
Director of Return Ministries Canada, Dean Bye, was the visionary behind the journey in Canada to collect the gold ring donations to bless Israel. He mentioned that “people gave from their hearts, even to the point where they took off their wedding rings!”. They then took all of the rings collected and melted them down and made beautiful and high quality “restoration rings” which were gold and silver bands that read “restoration” in Hebrew. At this event, each Canadian visitor took one of the rings and placed it on a finger of a Holocaust survivor. A film was also shown documenting their year long journey in collecting the gold rings from all over Canada.
Andre Gasiorowski, Chairman of Helping Hand Coalition, said that “the biggest need that they [Holocaust survivors] have is relationship. They are crying for friends and they feel rejected”. Andre continued saying that these people will soon be gone from the face of the planet as each day we loose hundreds of Holocaust survivors and their numbers will dramatically drop within the next 5 years. This is why this event was so crucial as it was amazing proof for the Holocaust survivors who have never seen Christians loving them. The gifts that they received weren’t just any rings. For the Holocaust survivors, who had nothing as everything was taken away from them during their childhood and then in the Soviet regime, this was something of great significance and meaning to them. This event was a true testament of being shown the love of God and to some of those survivors this could be the last time they witness such love.
The Holocaust survivors were extremely happy, with tears full of joy and rejoicing during the event as they felt honoured, cared for and endlessly loved. This was very clearly seen as they were dancing together with the Canadians and singing away!
This event was a first joint initiative between Return Ministries, Helping Hands Coalition and the Aliyah Return Center who co-orgnaized this successful evening and future events for Holocaust survivors are being currently planned together.