Bnei Akiva teenage volunteers visit Afula

Twenty-two members of Bnei Akiva youth movement spent two weeks in Afula, northern Israel, volunteering at Emunah’s Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre, a home for disadvantaged children. Their visit heralds the third year that Bnei Akiva, the UK’s largest Jewish youth movement, has run its Kaytana scheme at the Emunah children’s home, showing first-time Madrichim (leaders) another side to life in Israel.

The participants, who are aged 16 or 17, were chosen from over 100 applicants from around the country and those taking part come from Hendon, Finchley, Edgware, Stanmore and Borehamwood, as well as from Manchester and Leeds. Living on campus at Emunah’s Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre,  they befriended the young people and helped staff with activities and outings.

At a briefing before they left the UK the group of volunteers were addressed by British Emunah representative Mindy Wiesenberg.  She said: “Bnei Akiva is a wonderful organisation and I am proud of you for giving up two weeks of your time to help children who come from very different backgrounds to your own.  These children cannot live in their own homes because the situation is too difficult:  either they are dysfunctional or they have been emotionally or physically abused. Some have parents who are addicted to drugs or are in prison, while others have no parents at all.

“We also look after those with special needs, and have activities and therapies that enable all of the children to enjoy as normal a life as possible.  There is basketball and sport; an art room, music therapy and a petting zoo, and we take them swimming. Over 100 children live at the home and a further 100 attend daily programmes.

Mrs Wiesenberg  went onto explain that Emunah is one of the largest social welfare organisations in Israel and that the charity British Emunah helps to fund 36 of the 200 projects and services. She added: “You will be guided by the staff and the councillors as how to interact with the children; language is not a barrier – and they will all benefit from friendship and a smile.  We quite literally transform lives and you will be helping to make a difference.”

Co-leaders of Bnei Akiva Kaytana scheme were Rachel Gaon, 21, and Aaron Wunsh, 20, who  were helped by Hannah Myerson, 19.  The project represents many months of planning by the three, who are volunteers.  They have been liaising with Shlomo Kessel, director of the Emunah centre in Afula.

Rachel Gaon said: “My role is to make sure that Kaytana is a structured volunteer programme that will benefit participants and create confidence and boost self esteem.  It is very different to camp because the emphasis is on learning how to interact with a group of children who may not be initially receptive and being able to take cues from staff and Sherut Leumi (national service) volunteers. Our goal is to create the next generation of leaders who will take responsibility for the community while observing traditional orthodox Jewish values.

“Teaming up with Emunah is a win, win situation. Kaytana is an opportunity for Bnei Akiva Madrichim from all over the country to come together to gain valuable experience and training while helping to care for some of Israel’s most vulnerable children.”

A short film made by Hannah Myerson showing just what Kaytana was like is available to view by clicking here.

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Runners limber up to raise funds for Emunah in the London Marathon

Trainee accountant William Wolfson, 27, from Harrow-on-the Hill and Finance Manager, Jonathan Fenster, 53, from South Harrow, are running the London Marathon for Emunah. The charity, which supports disadvantaged children in Israel will also benefit from funds raised by great grandmother Flora Frank, 70, running under the Norwood banner.  Emunah Director Deborah Nathan wished them luck, saying: “We are really grateful for your supreme efforts in taking on this personal challenge as well as raising funds for children in need.”

Talking of the race, William Wolfson said: “This will be my first London Marathon although I did the Paris marathon in 2011 finishing in 4 hours 22 minutes, which I’d like to beat. I also ran Oxford half-marathon in October.  I’ve been doing between 10 to 13 miles at weekends and going to the gym in the week, but that stopped because I was busy with exams.  My great aunt is Lilian Brodie who is very involved with Emunah, so I know about the charity.”  A member of Hendon Reform Synagogue, William has raised £1150 so far towards his target of £1500.

https://www.justgiving.com/WilliamWolfson

This will be the second time that Jonathan Fenster has done the London Marathon for Emunah and he completed the course in 4 hours 32 minutes in 2009.  “I ran the first time because of a friend and said never again, but I got my arm twisted.   My training is going very well and I’ve recently done long runs, 19 miles and 17 miles, mainly on Sunday mornings, but now I’m tapering down.  All being well, I should be fit and ready for the day.”  The Hatch End Masorti shul member is hoping to raise £2500 for Emunah “because of the good work they carry out.”

http://www.justgiving.com/Jonathan-Fenster

Great grandmother Flora Frank, 70, from Edgware did the Jerusalem Marathon on Friday 21 March in 7:08:55.  What’s more remarkable is that Mrs Frank, a Jewish studies lecturer, did the Tiberias marathon in January (January 10, 2014) and now has a place in the Virgin London Marathon.  She’s a veteran of 28 marathons and when she goes the historic 26.2-mile race on 13th April, it will be her 29th full marathon!

Flora Frank said: “This was the first time that I have done the Jerusalem Marathon although I have done many marathons before.  I knew it was going to be hot but there were no half measures and I was determined to go the full way – out of respect for the city of Jerusalem.  But 26 miles is hard going, especially in the heat. I speed walk, I never run because I never have time to practice. I do it to raise money, that’s where my motivation lies, and because I love walking.  You are at one with yourself and it is just a wonderful feeling.”

Mrs Frank is a long-term supporter of Jewish causes and while she runs under the Norwood banner she gives a percentage of the profits to Emunah.  “My late brother was a resident at Ravenswood so that I am committed to the cause. Then I am Emunah’s representative at the Board of Deputies and an Emunah Executive Committee member.  When you think of all the good work they do for disadvantaged children in Israel, it is amazing.”

Flora has done the London Marathon 18 times before…

Totting up her achievements, she adds: “I’ve done the Tiberias Marathon nine times; Jerusalem once; and please G-d, this will be my 19th London Marathon!”

Emunah Director Deborah Nathan said: “We are full of admiration for Flora because she is an incredible role model for keeping fit while raising funds for children in Israel and her favourite causes.  She is just amazing!”

You can support Flora, William and Jonathan by clicking here to donate online

Good luck on Sunday – William, Jonathan and Flora!  We look forward to seeing you after the race. You are all incredible!

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Emunah crowns 2014 Young Musician and Young Singer of the Year

Ten-year-old pianist Elizabeth Kandelaki from South Hampstead (pictured with Sponsor Anthony Broza and  Chair of Adjudicators Malcolm Singer) has won the title of Emunah Young Musician 2014 after performing in front of a 350-strong audience at the Royal Academy of Music in Marylebone on Sunday afternoon.  A second accolade was won by 12-year-old JFS pupil Emma Sherrard from Mill Hill, who received the first ever Emunah Young  Singer of the Year award from Mitch Winehouse and his wife Jane.

Runner-up for the Emunah Young Singer of the Year award was Ilan Galkoff, 10, from Borehamwood, who has performed on the West End stage in Les Miserables and Oliver.

Held in association with the Jewish Chronicle, the national competition is run by the charity Emunah which helps disadvantaged children and young people in Israel through its network of children’s homes, high schools, day care, therapy and counselling centres.  Founded by Emunah’s Michelle Hirschfield, this is the fourth year for the competition which raises funds for the Lord and Lady Sacks music therapy programme.

“This is the first time that I have won anything – it is probably one of the best experiences in my life.  I am overwhelmed,” said Elizabeth Kandelaki, a pupil at the London Russian School of Music (formerly Belsize Music Academy).

Perfectly poised, Elizabeth impressed the judges with a fine and sensitive performance of Grieg’s Notturno.  She started playing piano and violin at the age of seven, with piano becoming her first instrument.  She also studies music appreciation and composition.  She will receive a cheque for £300 from competition sponsors Wienerworld, the indie music specialist, and perform at Emunah’s Guildhall dinner in December.

Attracting over 70 contestants from around the country, the contest was judged by a panel comprising Malcolm Singer, director of music at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard, Teresa Cahill, Norma Fisher, Françoise Pierre-Geller and Marc Verter.

Violinist Amos Sharp, 12, last year’s winner, gave an accomplished recital while they deliberated over choosing his successor “as the standard was exceptionally high.”

Joint runners-up for the main title of Young Musician were pianist Alessandro d’Orazio, 10, and harpist Olivia Ter-Berg, 17.   Saxophone players Louis Isaacs, 12 and Jodie Bloom, 9, from Borehamwood, jointly won a woodwind prize in memory of Sara Freedman.

World famous cellist Steven Isserlis presented a cup in his name recognising the use of music for charitable purposes.  The recipients were ‘The Four Sons’ – Noam Bernstein, George Rosenfeld, Asher Levy and Jamie Rubenstein, who made a CD to raise funds for Emunah and two other charities.

Emma Sherrard, Emunah Young Singer of the Year, said: “I was shocked when my name was called out.  I thought it must be a mistake.” Singing Electricity from the musical Billy Elliot, she was the judges’ unanimous choice.  “It’s my favourite song from a musical,” she explained.  A member of the JFS singers, Emma was performing at the school’s winter concert where the competition was launched and had been persuaded to enter by music teacher and deputy head, Mr Appleman.

Although she has performed on stage with a local theatre group, Emma “gets shy of singing in front of her family.  I wasn’t allowed to come to the London heats where she was a class runner-up” explains her mother, Sara Sherrard. “At home she only sings in her room – I am shocked that she has won, but very proud.  The £200 prize for Wienerworld may get used for a voice coach for the talented youngster who would love to sing professionally.

Commenting on the event, Michelle Hirschfield said: “It has been a fantastic afternoon thanks to our incredible winners, runners-up, and all the talented young musicians and singers who have entertained us, while raising funds to help those less fortunate through music therapy.”

A special award was presented by Michelle Hirschfield to accompanist Daphne Coleman for her contribution to the competition over the last 4 years.

Photo Credits; John Rifkin and Graham Hirschfield.  Words by Sue Rifkin.

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David Bernstein speaks at Emunah Gentlemen’s Lunch Club

Former FA chairman David Bernstein addressed an audience of 60 people at Emunah Gentlemen’s Lunch Club at La Fiesta in Golders Green.   Introduced by Peter Sheldon, the distinguished guest spoke about his dual careers in football and business, and his lifelong passion for Manchester City.  This was followed by a Q & A session on subjects such a goal line technology and the likelihood of England winning the World Cup.  Thanking everyone, charity director Deborah Nathan said the men’s support was “vital because Emunah is not just a women’s charity.”   Event organiser, Leonard Klahr, was delighted with the record attendance and announced that the next Gentlemen’s Lunch will be on March 31st when the guest speaker will be Lord Leslie Turnberg on “Defending Israel in the House of Lords”.

To book your place please call Alison Cohen on 020 8203 6066 or email Alison@emunah.org.uk

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Emunah Bridge Lunch – Wednesday 26 March 2014

Join Emunah for a Bridge Lunch – and enjoy good company, a delicious lunch and great Bridge! Hosted by Suzanne Zamet and Jennifer Hanison. Totteridge venue.

Advance booking is essential.

Donation £45 per person.

To reserve your place please call Alison on 020 8203 6066 or email Alison@emunah.org.uk.  To pay online for your tickets please click here.

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Purim Cards – available now!

Purchase the beautifully designed Purim Cards, (supplied by the Esther Cailingold Group) and help to change the lives of Israel’s children in need.

The cards are available in packs of 6 for a donation of £10.

The design feature a picture of children from Emunah’s Sarah Herzog Children’s Home in Afula, dressed in costumes ready to celebrate Purim.  The back of the cards features the following message:

‘In your honour and in the spirit of Purim a contribution has been made to Emunah’

There is also space for you to write your own message.

110 children live at the Afula home with another 90 attending a daily programme there. The children come to Afula for a variety of reasons – backgrounds of neglect and abuse are common, with some children coming to Emunah because of the effects of illness, drug abuse or domestic violence.

The proceeds from the sale of these Purim cards will help Emunah provide support to the vulnerable children who attend our 36 centres.

To order your packs of cards please email info@emunah.org.uk  or call 0208 203 6066, with details of how many packs you would like.  An additional charge for postage may be added if you need the cards to be sent to your home, otherwise they can be purchased and collected from our Head Office in Hendon.

Purim Sameach – Happy Purim!

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The Finalists – Emunah Young Musician of the Year and Young Singer

Following the London and Manchester heats, we are delighted to announce that 13 fine young musicians have been chosen to perform in concert on Sunday 9 March at the Royal Academy of Music at the competition finals of Emunah Young Musician of the Year 2014. In addition, seven talented singers will compete for the title of Emunah Young Music Theatre Singer.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the heats. The adjudicators were extremely impressed with the high standard of  the entries once again.  You are all stars!

The Showcase Concert will be at 2.30pm on Sunday 9th March at the Royal Academy of Music in London.  Tickets must be booked in advance.  For more information or to book tickets please call 0208 203 6066 or email alison@emunah.org.uk

Scroll down for list of London and Manchester finalists:

LONDON HEATS:

WOODWIND/BRASS

Winner:

Louis Isaacs, 12, Saxophone

Runner up:

Jodie Bloom, 9, Saxophone

STRINGS

Joint Winners:

Leo Appel, 14, Violin

Olivia Ter-Berg, 17, Harp

Joint Runners up:

Leora Cohen, 15, Violin,

Aviva Sharp, 10, Violin

CLASSICAL VOICE

Winner:

James Harvey,16

PIANO I

Winner:

Alessandro d’Orazio, 10

Runner up:

Masha Vasileyva, 9

PIANO II

Winner:

Leora Cohen, age 15

Runner Up

Elizabeth Kandelaki, age 10

SINGERS CLASS I

Winner:

Amber Lily Jacobs, age 14

Runner Up:

Emma Sherrard, age 12

SINGERS CLASS II

Winner:

Ilan Galkoff, age 10

Runner up:

Alana Bain, age 13

SINGERS CLASS III

Winner:

Natasha Fisch,14

Runner Up:

Brady Isaacs Pearce,13

MANCHESTER HEATS:

COMBINED CLASSICAL CLASS

Winner: Nicolas Veal-Baschwitz, 11, piano

Joint Runners Up:

Ben Silberstein, 14, Violin

Mark Englander, 13, Piano

SINGER

Winner:  Justine Saville, 16

Pictured below some of the London Finalists.  More pictures from both Heats to follow soon!

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Are you the next Emunah Young Musician of the Year?

Entry to the 2014 Emunah Young Musician 2014 competition is now open!  Are you the person to follow in the footsteps of 2013 winner, violinist Amos Sharp?  This year we have £500 prize fund  (kindly sponsored by Wienerworld) to be shared between the overall winner of the competition (£300) and the winner of our new category: Musical Theatre Singer of the Year (£200).We are looking for talented young musicians and singers aged 8 – 18 to take part in this competition which is held in conjunction with the Jewish Chronicle.

To download an entry form click here. Full rules for the competition are available by clicking here. Any other questions – please call us on 020 8203 6066.

London Heats will be on Sunday 2nd February 2014.  Manchester Heats will be on Sunday 9th February 2014.  The Showcase Final Concert will be held on Sunday 9th March 2014 at the Royal Academy of Music.

For photos and a report on last year’s competition, please click here.

Photo of Amos Sharp – Credit John Rifkin.

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Are you ready to help Emunah this Rosh Hashanah?

Please support our Rosh Hashanah campaign and help transform the lives of children who have suffered abuse and neglect.  Click here to donate today.

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Young Emunah brings you a Murder Mystery Dinner for Singles!

Young Emunah invites you to dinner….and there is MURDER on the menu!

We have only 2 places left for men, we are SOLD OUT for women! – so call Laura (07903 413634) to secure you’re place.

Prepare yourself for a night of drama, laughs and questions (and it’s a Jewish event so of course there will be food – a 2 course meal).

We look forward to seeing you on the 18th July for a night to remember!

Date: Thursday 18 July 2013

Venue: SOYO, Golders Green

Minimum donation per person: £30

RSVP Laura@emunah.org.uk or call 07903 413634 to book your place

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