Musicians sing the praises of kids’ charity

Israeli pair help the British arm of the organisation celebrate its 90th anniversary in London


In a touching show of gratitude, two men who were supported by Israeli charity Emunah as teenagers have helped the British arm of the organisation celebrate its 90th anniversary in London.

Eli and San, who asked the JC not to use their surnames, were cared for at the Emunah Afula Children’s Centre in northern Israel, where the charity “helped them break the cycle of abuse, neglect and trauma”, British Emunah director Sharon Dewinter told guests at the dinner.

British Emunah was set up in 1933 by a group of women with the original aim of providing practical help to children arriving in Mandatory Palestine to escape Nazi persecution.

Eli, who played the guitar at the celebration in Finchley, arrived at the centre aged 12. He had been unable to live at home with his father, who was very sick, and his mother, who suffered from depression.

Now 26, Eli hascredited Emunah for “saving my life” since it was there that he discovered his musical talent.

He told the JC: “There was a music competition at the children’s centre. I didn’t even want to compete, but my piano teacher pushed me to keep practising no matter what.”

Eli went on to win first prize, which, he says, was “something I never believed could happen”.

He then decided he “wanted to invest as much as possible in music to make people enjoy what I do”.

He has since learnt how to play the guitar and compose songs, which he does in between studying engineering.

“I started writing my own mini-album and the big dream is to release the album to the world for everyone to hear,” he said.

San, 26, who sang on the night, was a similar age when he came to the children’s centre, having escaped a difficult home life.

Now working in retail and married with two children, San “credits Emunah for changing his life and for the fact his own children will never need such help”, said Dewinter.

She added: “Eli is so talented on guitar and San has the voice of an angel, but what really inspired us was the life stories they told us between songs.”

After the event, Eli said: “Every step I took, Emunah was there for me and reminded me that I have a warm home at every stage of life.”

Emunah is one of Israel’s leading social service and humanitarian aid organisations, supporting 10,000 of Israel’s most at-risk children and families.

Dewinter said: “At Emunah, we have empowered [young people] for generations and, thanks to support [from our donors], we will continue to do so for the next 90 years.”

There are around 150 Emunah projects in Israel and donations from British Emunah support 26 of these.

The event raised more than £70,000 for Emunah’s services.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive