Turning Pain into Smiles : Keren Peles performs in London in aid of Simcha LaYeled.

 An emotional and magical fundraising evening for the charity Simcha LaYeled, hosted by international journalist Shirit Gal Kedar and featuring a performance by Israeli singer and celebrity Keren Peles, took place in London on Sunday 5th December.

The evening, sponsored by JNF UK, was held at the Leonardo Hotel in St Paul’s courtesy of the Israeli company Fattal, and with the assistance of Israeli residents of London, aimed to raise £108,000 for this charity that supports children with severe physical disabilities but normal cognitive abilities.

With the money raised Simcha LaYeled will be able to offer a further 60 children from Be’er Sheva and the Southern District of Israel the chance to become active members of society.

Among the key speakers, Gideon Falter, Vice Chairman of JNF UK said that it was an “honour to be part of the evening, and when you see the impact Simcha LaYeled is having on these children, you cannot help but be inspired to help raise the funds that are needed”

Following the lighting of the 8th Chanukkah candle by Gabriella Pfeefer and Idit Cohen, accompanied by David Zisser, Simcha LaYeled shared the story of Idit, a 12-year-old girl paralysed as a result of a hit-and-run accident.

Dikla Cohen,(Idit’s mother), moved the audience with her day-to-day experiences highlighting that whilst Idit attends her activities, the charity provides events designed for the family’s mental health and parental well-being allowing her to “raise her head above water”. Her speech was followed by an emotive duet of “Great Light” by Idit and Gabriela which received a standing ovation.

Simcha LaYeled said “ It was exciting to see an amazing group of 300 Israelis living in London who came to hear and support Israel and the special activities of our association. We thank all the friends of Simcha LaYeled who took the trouble and worked hard to produce the event.”

Members of the JNF UK Fellowship Programme participated in the evening enabling them to experience first-hand the difference that JNF UK makes to those in need in Israel’s peripheries. Jack Greenwold, a participant in the Fellowship programme, summed up his thoughts “I am delighted and grateful to have been asked to help with this event and I am truly inspired by the amazing community spirit and what JNF UK does in Israel”.

Dr Shai Bezalely, CEO of JNF UK further commented that “we are proud to be part of life-changing events and fundraisers like Simcha LaYeled, and that the community, along with our Fellows, are able to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of the work we do and the lives we affect.”