Every Shalom House event hosted at Helping Hand Coalition’s Caesarea Headquarters is a unique occasion, and June 6th was no exception! At one o’clock, thirty-four survivors of the Holocaust arrived from Rishon LeZion, led by Evgenia Tzofim, for a concert by the international group, One Lev. Filling the villa with Middle Eastern, European, and American inspired music, the band took the survivors around the world with a message of hope, love, peace, and joy.
Opening the event, Andre and Bozena Gasiorowski thanked everyone for coming. They also introduced the survivors to the team – Luke and Sarah Gasiorowski, Jola, and Hannah-rose Russell – and four Polish guests, including Bozena’s mother and Jakub Klepek. Explaining the mission of Helping Hand Coalition and Global Forum, Andre shared the story of how the organization began before playing a video showcasing the work HHC has accomplished in the last fifteen years!
Touring worldwide, One Lev — lev meaning “heart” in Hebrew and “lion” in Russian — originated after the band members met in Finland and decided to collaborate. Russian native Mikhail Monkevich led with guitar and vocals. At the same time, Israeli-born Ilan Gorny (a second-generation Romanian Holocaust survivor) played on a snare drum, while his American-Israeli wife Lori played the clarinet and flute. Hailing from opposite sides of the planet, the musicians’ cultures merged in an excellent performance that got everyone’s hands clapping and feet tapping.
With the sun shining through the glass doors, the survivors’ faces were radiant as they smiled and danced to the music. At the end of the performance, it was clear everyone had enjoyed the concert when they shouted for an encore.
When asked how he felt about playing at the Shalom House, Mikhail explained, “My heart is full of gladness and happiness to play for the survivors.”
Taking advantage of the gorgeous weather, after a delicious lunch catered by Orly, the survivors adjourned to the patio, where they were served hot drinks and dessert. The excitement of the concert continued into lunch as everyone talked amongst themselves, getting to know one another and exchanging stories.
During each Shalom House, special memories are made, carrying the energy and joy of the event into the rest of the week. Helping Hand Coalition extends its gratitude to Evgenia’s group, One Lev, and all the team and guests who participated in this wonderful Shalom House event!