March 13th was a double whammy for the Shalom House Project! After the morning event at the HHC Caesarea Villa, HHC representatives and international guests from Church of New Hope were invited to The Promised Home’s club in Netanya, led by Mila Kornish. It was an evening glimmering in joy as the survivors welcomed their guests with love and anticipation, creating new memories of dancing, singing, and laughter.
Opening the event with live music, Evgeny, an immigrant from Ukraine, played his violin and sang for the survivors.
A time of community, there was an open mic for anyone who wished to share. A few of the Church of New Hope members spoke of their love for Israel and the survivors of the Holocaust. Don Patten also took a moment to pray for what’s happening in Ukraine and the people being affected by it. Inspired by the group’s candor, the survivors felt comfortable telling part of their stories. One gentleman read a poem he’d written about remembering the bombs dropping and thinking they were rain.
While many people get stuck looking at the past or bad memories, Church of New Hope’s message to the survivors was to always hold onto the hope that death is not the end of their story.
Halfway through the event, Mila plugged her phone into the speaker system to play Russian music. At the sound of familiar songs, survivors went WILD, and the party began! Watching the survivors dance is always a joyful moment, but it can be intimidating to dance with them. The group from Church of New Hope learned this firsthand as they were pulled onto the dance floor to waltz and twirl to the beat of the music! Ernesto, part of the group, commented that he didn’t know how to dance, but the survivors took him under their wing and made it feel natural.
We are not promised tomorrow, but it’s moments like this where life is worth living!
Thank you to Mila Kornish and her group for including us in your evening’s festivities. Thanks also to Don and Marta Patten and the Church of New Hope for serving the survivors and being an example of what it looks like to honor them. Each year, we lose more survivors, making it more critical than ever to teach the next generation about these people and the fight they had to endure to dance among us today!