Each Shalom House that we host is a special event, but this week is one for the memory books. Joining us at our villa in Caesarea, were twenty women from ‘Children of the War,’ based in Netanya, for a time of creativity, music, and fellowship. Volunteers from Poland, Germany, and Israel helped make the event possible, with the aid of Alyosha Ryabinov as translator and entertainer. Bozena Gasiorowski hosted the event, while Jacqueline Berhaar and Anky Rittenhouse led the craft workshop for the survivors.
Upon their arrival, the survivors enjoyed hearing Alyosha share some life stories along with a couple of songs, before beginning the construction of colorful necklaces. Friendships were formed, and the energy throughout the house was buzzing as everyone worked together to create beautiful creations.
Refreshments were served with delicious finger food, graciously prepared by our volunteers, Jola and Lidia. Voices echoed through the villa as conversations were started and continued as our guests enjoyed the food and drinks, contagiously spreading the feelings of joy and community amongst all who were present.
To end, Alyosha sat behind the piano, and he along with his wife Jody led the group in song and dance. Nobody wanted the event to end, which is always a great sign of a successful event. Hosting these Shalom Houses is about more than showing Holocaust survivors that we’re here for them, they’re about organizing an afternoon that the survivors will remember for a long time. There is no better feeling than seeing the smiles on their faces and their reluctance to leave. Our hope is that each survivor who comes through the Shalom House villa’s door will leave with their day’s made and their heart’s content.
A big thank you to: Mila Friedman for organizing this group of survivors to join us. Osnat Rotman who also volunteers her time to help elderly people express themselves through art, for coming to see what we do at the Shalom House Jochen & Karin Koehler for preparing the craft workshop and volunteering their time; and to everyone else who made this day a unique and memorable experience.