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Emotional Evening of Support at Annual Appeal Dinner

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22 May 2018

Four hundred supporters experienced a night of laughter and tears at Jewish Care Victoria's 2018 Annual Appeal Dinner on Tuesday 15 May.

This year Jewish Care is aiming to raise $3.2 million for its programs and services that assist over 6000 people in need in the Victorian Jewish community.

The night was hosted by Helen Mizrachi posing as her alter-ego Bubba Helen. As only Bubba Helen can do, she had the audience enjoying her touch of Yiddish humour while adding a very heimish feel to the room.

Jewish Care President, Mike Debinski pointed out that the number of people being supported by the organisation has increased in the past 12 months from 5000 to 6000 people. "When you support Jewish Care, you are not only contributing to the wellbeing of your community, but you are ultimately contributing to your own wellbeing, now and into the future."

Entertainment during the evening continued the ‘heimish' home-grown theme with performances from a Jewish Care client, Elder and volunteer.

Professional singer and client Lorraine Ercegg sang the Australian and Israeli anthems, followed by a piano performance by Harry Engel, an 80 year old Elder from Gary Smorgon House. Harry has Parkinson's disease and taught himself to play the piano only 12 months ago. The young and talented Jemma Cher provided a touch of glamour and pizazz with an elegant rendition of Nat King Cole's classic song, ‘Smile'.

It was however, 18 year old guest speaker Yon Andelman's personal story that had the audience in tears while giving a standing ovation. Yon recounted how in the space of 10 years he became disconnected from the Jewish community after having to shift to Cranbourne, cope with his parent's separation and his father going to jail, a family bankruptcy, losing his home and eventually suffering from anxiety and depression. It was with Jewish Care's assistance through the Young Achievers Program and Individual and Family Support Services that Yon and his family have been able to get their lives back on track.

"Who knows where I would be today without the help of Jewish Care?
Jewish Care threw me a lifeline and now I want to push on and continue to be part of our brilliant Jewish community," Yon said.

Keren Zelwer, a donor and volunteer to Jewish Care, gave a personal and heartfelt address, urging supporters to ensure Jewish Care is always here for the community.

"It is our duty to invest in the security of vulnerable individuals in the community as well as the future of our loved ones, should we ever be presented with unexpected challenges. Let us take a brief moment to imagine a community in which Jewish Care and all of its facilities does not exist and let that be our impetus for ensuring that it does."

Click here to view photos from the event

To donate to Jewish Care, contact 1800 JEWISH (1800 539 474) or click here to donate online.