Gathering in the Caesarea Villa on a rainy day, fifteen survivors from Survivors of Nazism, an organization that is based in Hadera, joined HHC for a concert styled Shalom House. Bozena Gasiorowski hosted the event and welcomed everyone as they arrived.
The air was still, and a hush filled the villa as everyone took their seats and were serenaded by Alyosha Ryabinov’s compositions. In-between songs, Alyosha and his wife Jody shared about moving to Israel. On their first flight to the Land, before the plane had landed, Alyosha began to cry as the country came into view because he knew that they had come home. Love poured out of their hearts as they spoke about how blessed they are to serve and be a part of the survivors’ lives.
To share their blessings with friends, each week, the Ryabinovs bring guests to the Shalom House to experience the unique afternoons that take place at the villa. This week, Brigitte Blaise, from France, and Offra & Kennet Giles, from Israel/England, attended the event. Asked to share a few words, Brigitte joined Alyosha at the front and thanked the survivors for welcoming her. She explained how she goes around Paris, retelling stories from the Torah through song. It is Brigitte’s love for the Jews that has brought her to Israel, and being at the Shalom House filled her with great appreciation and happiness.
Lunch, prepared by our loyal volunteers, was colorful and full of flavor. As the survivors ate, they reacquainted themselves with old friends. One of the survivors exclaimed to Bozena that it was his third time at the Shalom House, his smile lighting up the room as he spoke. The Shalom House events have become like family reunions as we greet familiar faces; it is a joy to give them an afternoon to dance and sing!
Before the bus arrived to take the survivors home, a decorative box containing a traditional mooncake from China were given to each guest. Jody explained that while she and Alyosha were in Jerusalem, their Asian friends had given them the gifts to present at the next Shalom House. The gesture touched the survivors, and they left the villa excited to try the unusual concoction.
Thank you to the Survivors of Nazism for gracing us with your presence. Zhenya Derevyannaya, you are so strong, and HHC is so thankful that you continue to bring your group from Hadera to join us for an afternoon of rejoicing. Our volunteers – Jola, Donna, and Kristina – outdid themselves with their beautiful food presentation; without their help, the event would not run as smooth as it did! It was also a pleasure to have Alyosha and Jody, with their vibrancy for life, and their guests, with their hearts full of love, at the event!