‘Tis the season of Hanukkah, the time of year where menorahs are lit, dreidels are spun, and sufganiyot are enjoyed at the expense of our waistlines.
On December 2nd, the fourth day of Hanukkah, forty survivors from Hadera arrived at Helping Hand Coalition’s headquarters for a Shalom House event. Hosted by Andre Gasiorowski, Co-Founder and Chairman of HHC, and co-organized by Alexander Dietze, Founder of Back to Zion, the survivors were welcomed to the villa and introduced to the afternoon’s guests and performers.
Coming from the Galilee, the musical group consisted of Elisheva Shomron (guitarist and singer), Nathaniel and Rachel Wiseman (singers), and Gabi Danieli (harpist). Taking their places at the front, the group performed songs in various languages, exuding a festive energy that filled the villa, bringing a sparkle of life into the survivors’ eyes. Their excitement only grew when Nathaniel began bellowing the famous tune, “If I Were a Rich Man,” from Fiddler on the Roof, creating the perfect finale to an epic concert.
After their performance, the group handed out MP3 players containing the songs performed to the survivors. Nathaniel explained that the gifts came with a blessing and proceeded to recite Isaiah 43:1, “But now, this is what the Lord says — he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.’”
Alexander also took a few minutes to share the mission behind his organization, Back to Zion. After moving his family to Israel more than ten years ago, the Dietzes’ felt the need to create a way for German Christians to support Israel and the survivors living here. Working closely with Helping Hand Coalition, Back to Zion has hundreds of donors, whom Alexander calls family, who want to bless the survivors and ask for forgiveness for the evil their people committed during the Holocaust. Grateful for Alexander’s kind words, the survivors clapped, exclaiming their willingness to open their arms to the Dietze family and their mission. One survivor was overjoyed to see the youngest of Alexander’s children and held her with a big smile on his face.
Lunch, catered by Orly, was served by the music team along with Alexander’s daughters and Andre’s granddaughter. At the presence of the children, the survivors were filled with adoration, particularly gushing over Sarah Gasiorowski’s pregnant belly, wishing her many blessings and health for the baby’s near arrival.
In true Hanukkah tradition, a variety of sufganiyot were served on the patio. Among the famous jam-filled sufganiyot were lemon cream and chocolate flavors. Making the most of the fresh winter breeze, the survivors relaxed around the garden, exchanging warm conversation with the guests, children, and team.
Helping Hand Coalition is grateful to Alexander Dietze and Back to Zion for their continued partnership, along with our other partners, Jewish Voice International, Christians for Israel, and God’s Grace International. This afternoon wouldn’t have been as bright without the fantastic musicians, so we’d like to thank Elisheva, the Wisemans, and Gabi for blessing the survivors with their talents! HHC is delighted to host these events for the survivors; there is truly nothing better than hearing their declarations of joy and seeing smiles on their faces!