The theme of Tikva UK’s dinner was “a home for hope”, referring to its core mission to care for homeless, abandoned and abused Jewish children in Ukraine and neighbouring regions.
And proof of its success was demonstrated to supporters by the story of one of its graduates, 20-year-old Marina Bogatyrchuk.
Ms Bogatyrchuk came to the Odessa-based charity at the age of six from a village 250 kilometres away. “My grandmother wanted me to have a Jewish upbringing,” she told the JC.
The move had been “difficult” for her non-Jewish father. “But we knew it would be better for my future.
“I should always remember where I came from. But I can’t account for how much Tikva gave me. All my friends are from Tikva.”
Through Tikva, she had learned about Jewish life and “to keep Shabbat and the festivals”. And through her management studies at its university, she was well set in career terms.
Delivering the appeal to the 250 guests, she also said Tikva had given so many young people from difficult backgrounds a life and a future. “Without your generosity, our lives would have been very different.”
Her story helped the charity to raise a record £1.4 million from the dinner.
The Knightsbridge venue was handy for I’m A Celebrity winner Georgia Toffolo and fellow Made In Chelsea star Mark-Francis Vandelli, who were among the guests, as were entertainer Ronan Keating and his wife Storm and actress and businesswoman Caprice Bourret.
Speakers highlighted Tikva’s ongoing “search and rescue programme”. There are 37 people in the search and rescue team and 100 children are brought into Tikva annually.
More than 300 children live in the charity’s homes and there are in excess of 1,000 young people in Tikva’s homes, schools and university.
In his message to the dinner, Tivka CEO Refael Krusksal said he was often asked to describe a regular day. But there were no regular days at Tikva.
“We can’t predict whether we will get a call from the hospital telling us that a new child is about to be born and is in need of our help; whether a former little boy or girl will get engaged, or the many other good or bad things that could happen.
“Whatever happens, the children will be safe and loved.”