June 23rd was a morning of love and wonder as representatives from Helping Hand Coalition and survivors of the Holocaust gathered in Hadera for a Shalom House concert. Nadia, the leader of the Hadera Hostel, began by welcoming everyone before passing the microphone to Bozena Gasiorowski, Director of the Shalom House Project, who introduced the event’s performers. Bozena said, “We are very excited to have Jody and Alyosha Ryabinov return to the Shalom House today. After being apart for so long, we wish from the bottom of our hearts to bring you love and happiness. At the end of the event, we have a special surprise for you, which will put you in a relaxed mood and begin to restore your senses after the trauma of Covid, bringing you joy and good health.”
With radiant smiles on their faces, Jody and Alyosha thanked Helping Hand Coalition for inviting them and reintroduced themselves to the survivors. Jody exclaimed, “It’s great to see and meet you all again! During Covid, we really missed coming to do these concerts for you. So, today is a gift to be together, isn’t it? Alyosha is a classically trained musician, and we believe that God gave him this music like He gave all the great composers. They all say that they heard the music in heaven before they composed it; so, I believe this morning we will hear a love letter from heaven.”
Taking a deep breath as he sat in front of the piano, Alyosha closed his eyes and slowly placed his hands on the keys before opening the concert with a sweet melody. As Alyosha played, the music floated through the air, kissing the survivors’ souls as they received the declaration of love that poured through each note. Between compositions, Alyosha said, “We have had such a difficult year; however, it doesn’t matter what difficulties we have, there is always hope.”
As Jody joined her husband to sing, she moved around the room, taking each of the survivors by the hand one at a time to sing directly to them. It was an intimate moment that the survivors welcomed as they reached out their hands in return. With her own heart overflowing, Jody shared about growing up without grandparents, adding, “I didn’t have grandparents until I came to Israel and we began doing these concerts. I am so grateful because I discovered that I have many grandparents, and when I look into your eyes, I feel so much love towards you.”
Though many didn’t want the music to end, when Jody invited the survivors to come to the front for a hand massage, their eyes lit up! Using special oils to help with pain and tightness, a new aroma filled the room as the survivors sat in front of Bozena, Jody, and her guests, Chanina and Anya, for some TLC (tender loving care). The survivors immediately relaxed under the gentle caress, a special connection forming between them and the team as they shared stories and soaked in the attention. While the music had been a kiss to their souls, the massage was a kiss to their hearts.
Voicing their deep gratitude, the survivors thanked Helping Hand Coalition for the event, hugging and kissing each of the representatives who had taken part in making the event so memorable. A big thank you to Nadia for opening the hostel to host the event, along with Jody, Aloysha, and their guests, for giving the survivors two hours of love and care.