Israeli youngsters from a children’s home in Afula were given a warm welcome when they arrived at Luton Airport on a freezing cold night last week.
The £10,500 cost towards the holiday for the 11-to-18-year-olds was raised by a group of women on an Emunah Mother-and-Daughter tour to Israel who were moved by the plight of the children “who were well cared for but did not have the kind of lives their own families enjoyed”.
The 15 youngsters, who were hosted by north-west London families, were accompanied by the home’s director Shlomo Kessel and staff members.
The week’s activities included bowling, a theatre trip, and a Harry Potter studio tour. Highlights included a Chanucah dinner and magic show at the Hampstead home of Lisa Ronson and her husband Paul Althesen.
The week culminated with a party at Yeshurun Synagogue in Edgware, where Emunah chairman Camille Compton said: “Without the committee, none of this would have been possible.”
Mr Kessel said: “When we stood at Luton airport, I’m not sure who was more excited — us or the host families. Most of the children had never been on an aeroplane before. The trip exceeded all my expectations.”
Twelve-year-old visitor Uriel said: “I’ve enjoyed all the places I’ve been to. I don’t want to go home!”