Despair to Repair - that was the theme of this year's Sixth Anniversary of the destruction of Gush Katif. Tonight was the second time I had spoke for the Jerusalem Commemoration. The program, organized by Job Katif (under director Judy Lowy) and Young Israel (under the direction of Daniel Mush Meyer of the International Young israel Movement) was held in Jerusalem's Heichal Shlomo Synagogue. Down in the lobby vendors, whom JobKatif had launched, were selling their wares in the lobby.
There were magnificent things - gorgeous paintings, unique glass painting and paper cuts. There were hats and head bands, all kinds of produce, plus black berries. YUM!!
These artisans are only about ten of the 260 businesses that JobKatif put back on their feet.
FYI - JobKatif also placed 2100 people in jobs, and retrained 460 others. Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon, founder of JobKatif, told the GK gathering that another 1500 people are not working, and 500 are working very little.
"There is so much that still has to be done to help the Gush Katif community," said Rav Rimon. "Those without sufficient income are using their compensation money to eat [instead of rebuild their home or business]."
There were another four speakers through the evening, including Tova Hadad from Kfar Darom, who now lives in Avnei Eitan, and opened the Gush Katif Heritage Center; Avi Abelow, producer of the most famous GK flick, Homegame; Yasmin Talker of Atzmona who lives in Amatzia today, who is the creator of Orange Butterfly; and Sharon Katz, Editor of VOICES Magazine and a founding member of the Committee for Gush Katif Bridal Showers.
Jeremy Gimpel of Tuesday Night Live was the charming and knowledgeable host, and Rabbi Shlomo Katz was the incredible musical performer.
Down in the lobby, as I perused the vendor tables, I saw a collection of paper cuts. Suddenly, one jumped out at me. It was a paper cut of Bet HaMikdash. I have that paper cut hanging in my
dining room above my Shabbat guest sink. I have loved it since the moment I bought it.
I asked the woman behind the table, "Are you the artist who made this paper cut?" He answered in the affirmative. "Yes, I am Amira."
"Oh my gosh, I bought this same paper cut from you when you were in Neve Dekalim about seven years ago at a street fair," I told her. Together we tried to figure out which fair it was, and it seemed to make her happy to remember those days. It made me happy too.
I was so excited to see her, I asked if I could give her a hug. And then we took a photo together.
Amira Judaica makes paper cuts and assorted handmade arts.
You can actually get a complete listing of the businesses that JobKatif has launched by visiting here: http://jobkatif.org.il/english/category/business-directory/