Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rockin' for Our Brethren

Okay, okay, for the benefit of others, I'll sit through a fabulous rock concert, clap my hands until they're red, and sing along until my throat is sore. I'm big hearted, so I just had to do it.
So did about 400 other folks.
Tonight, a terrific cover band, THE SIXTIES, had a whole audience in Gush Etzion enthralled with an evening of really great (I kid you not) music - the Beatles, the Monkees, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elvis, Roy Orbisen, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones. The adults loved it and even the teenagers were jumping around in front of the stage and swaying, and later shining the lights of their cell phones at the crowd as the band played John Lennon's "Imagine" and Paul McCartney's "Hey Jude."
While you might think we Gush Etzion/Efrat folk are not the rock concert type, or maybe not the rock concert type NOWADAYS, we all came out for the benefit of JOB KATIF, which has been working to find employment for the folks of Gush Katif for the past four years. Its motto is "restoring lives one job at a time."
As I wrote in a previous post, , over the past four years, JobKatif has found 1300 jobs for GKers, helped create 175 businesses and sent 250 people for retraining. There's still much more to do. And the government of Israel has realized that only JobKatif has proven successful at this task.
So, they've given JobKatif a matching grant to make it happen. But that means that JobKatif has to bring in the money to be matched. The profits from tonight's concert count in that matching, so B"H, it was a super successful evening.
Thank you to Alan and Risa Schuman, Valerie and Yehoshua Pessin, and Elana and Gershon Adams and everyone else who made this evening such a smash hit. What a team!!
A Who's Who of JobKatif
Some JobKatif superstars were present at the concert, and that was a big thrill for JobKatif supporters.. Firstly, HaRav Yosef Tzvi Rimon, founder and head of JobKatif, addressed the audience. While he has so many other responsibilities as a rabbi, teacher and author, Rav Rimon said that he cannot turn his mind to other projects until he has gotten the people from Gush Katif back on to their feet. He said that he doesn't listen to non-Jewish music, but if hearing a rock song will help the people of Gush Katif, well, ....
The evening was dedicated in thanks to one of JobKatif 's original dynamoes Ruthie Schwartz, whose hard work and burning devotion were the impetus to putting so many GKers back to work. In addition to her many other responsbilities, I remember that it was Ruthie who set up my first interview for Voices with Rav Rimon long ago. Ruthie sat right upfront at the concert, and beamed at the progress being made by JobKatif today.
JobKatif Executive Director Judy Lowy was on hand as well. Judy's been on the radio quite a lot lately trying to garner more support for JobKatif and encourage people to help now, especially during this period of the Matching Grant.
Acharon acharon chaviv, Mr. Avery Harris and his wife sat right in front of us. I will never forget those days right after the destruction of Gush Katif. Avery got in his car every single day (I think from Petach Tikva) and drove from one expelled community to another, trying to find out what they needed and how he could help them. He knew what was doing in every single family's home. And he still does. He remains in daily contact with the folks from Gush Katif. Today, he is a tireless volunteer for JobKatif.
JobKatif has come a long way in finding employment for our brethren. But there are so many that remain unemployed and underemployed, there is still much to do. And as Gush Katif expellees begin rebuilding, JobKatif's involvement will become even more vital. Let's all do what we can to help and encourage others to help as well: , 072-212-7121.
IY"H, there'll be a video of the concert up on VoicesTV in the next few days. Keep your eyes on .
Every day, JobKatif tells ex-Gush Katif ers, "I wanna hold your hand." Kol hakavod and much hatzlacha to JobKatif until the job is done!

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