If there is anything that we at Vision for Israel love to do, it's to use our gift of hospitality to welcome people from all walks of life to enjoy special events at the Millennium Centre.
We believe that part of our calling is to open our doors to the public and ensure that all who enter through them receive the best VIP treatment one could imagine.
As we reflect on our many visitors, we can't think of many more worthy of serving than the Holocaust survivors of Israel.
Recently, we had the honour of hosting an exciting event for 50 Hebrew and Russian-speaking Holocaust survivors who are members of the Café Europa social club from the city of Arad.
We wanted our time with them to be as full of joy as possible - so we decided that the group would enjoy a fun and relaxing musical morning.
We opened the morning with public singing and dancing, hosted by three talented musicians who combined musical instruments and gypsy music. They even switched it up and entertained everyone as they sang in five different languages -- Greek, English, Hebrew, Spanish, and Yiddish.
As all enjoyed the musical melodies with smiles spread wide across their faces, they snacked on savoury pastries, and dips, and enjoyed hot and cold drinks.
Barry and Batya were privileged to meet the Holocaust survivors face to face and greet them; they also had the opportunity to share with the group a little bit about themselves and how Vision for Israel will continue to support the thousands of Holocaust survivors still living in Israel today.
It's always important for us to connect with the people we are serving, as oftentimes, they find themselves on the sidelines of society -- invisible and ignored. Shaking their hands and looking into their eyes as they greet us are moments that will stay with them (and us) long after they leave.
The group was then seated around tables for a delicious and filling lunch of stuffed vegetables, meat skewers, chicken and salmon, green salad, green beans, beet carpaccio, and individual desserts.
After that, one of the Holocaust survivors came up to sing, which encouraged the rest of the group to join in the singing as well. They even got up to dance as the room filled with laughter and joy!
It is no surprise that everyone enjoyed the musical morning as much as they did, as part of the group are members of the Desert Sounds ensemble, a famous and popular musical group that performs around Israel.
Later, we discovered through the coordinator of the south branch that this was the first event the survivors attended since the Covid pandemic started and that they were very excited and happy to be there.
Knowing we provided them with their first outing after a long and challenging period warmed our hearts to the core. We will always make it a priority to bless the remaining Holocaust survivors in Israel and remind them, through events such as this, just how grateful we are for their bravery and courage.