85th Anniversary Gala Dinner – Full of Tears & Laughter

30 October 2018 | Fundraising, Head Office

British Emunah received lavish praise at its 85th Anniversary Dinner on Monday 29 October, 2018, where Ambassador Mark Regev said: “A stronger Emunah means a stronger Israel… How do you comfort a toddler when a siren blares in the dead of night? How do you remedy the pain felt by parents who have to rush their children to safety? Every single day Emunah works with families to find solutions because just as brave young soldiers of the IDF protect Israel’s borders, it is the people of Emunah who stand on the emotional frontline, listening, caring and healing wounds, in so many of Israel’s southern communities.”

Held at The London Marriott and attended by 420 people, the gala night raised £300,000 towards 37 Israel projects supported by British Emunah including the Sarah Ronson Crisis and Intervention Centre in Sderot. “Rocket attacks and incendiary balloons from Gaza mean that more people of all ages need Emunah’s help,” explained Emunah Dinner Chair, Michelle Plainer. Around the room were balloons donated by supporters – “these are balloons of hope, not hate,” she said.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis said: “Wherever you are in the world, the needs of people in Israel are equal to local charities and causes… Emunah reaches out to thousands of individuals, feeling empathy for those who are orphaned, underprivileged, or who wouldn’t have a chance for successful lives if not for the investment of funds and expertise at projects and services. British Jewry is immensely proud of everything that Emunah has done throughout these glorious 85 years.”

The evening began on a sombre note with a one-minute silence for the victims of last Sunday’s Pittsburgh shootings.

Making the appeal was Vadim Lovv, 32, who grew up at Emunah Afula after his father murdered his mother. He was featured in a film in which the charity takes him to Latvia, where he was born, to recite kaddish at his mother’s grave for the first time. “I never knew my mother, I never had the privilege to get to know her, I only know her from photos.” Addressing the audience, Vadim said: “I am sure that seated in this room tonight is someone who saved my life. Through Emunah, I was provided with a home, an education and the support I needed.” Now married to his wife, Tobi, he is studying for a degree in Industrial Engineering and Management, while working for a construction company.

Ten young people from the Emunah Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre in Afula were at the dinner on their first-ever trip to London, hosted by north-west London families. Guests included World Emunah Director Shlomo Kessel and World Emunah Vice-President Judy Cohen.

Entertainment was provided by the Emunah Choir, led by Samantha Cooper, and the Israeli youngsters joined them on stage to sing Hatikvah.

Guest speaker author Howard Jacobson thought it “wonderful to be amongst one’s own in dark times so I am very grateful to you tonight. I’ll be candid, I’ve spent most of the worrying whether the stories I was going to tell you were appropriate given the vile times we are living in, then I decided that maybe after all what we needed was cheering up a bit…”

He entertained the audience with tales of his childhood in Cheetham Hill and donkeys on Blackpool beach, before saying: “I admire the wonderful work that Emunah does, because whoever saves a child’s life saves the world.”

British Emunah Chairman Rosalyn Liss, thanked Mr Jacobson for his “entertaining” talk and said that Vadim was “inspiring – we are immensely proud of the man you have become.”

Dinner Chair Michelle Plainer later said: “Emunah offers life-changing support to Israel’s at-risk children and vulnerable families and I am grateful to all our donors and sponsors who made this evening possible. I would urge anyone who is able to do so to lend their financial or practical support.”

The British Emunah Dinner Committee were Michelle Plainer (Fundraising Chairman), Lucy Cowland, Sharon Dewinter, Michelle Hirschfield, Shoshanna Jaffe, Hilary Pearlman, Rochelle Selby, Merle Kreditor, Esther Lee, Rosalyn Liss, Deborah Nathan, Lady Zahava Kohn and Rosalind Shapiro.

For photos of the evening click here

Projects you can support