Eylon Levy hosts gala event for people with disabilities in Israel

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Eylon Levy hosts gala event for people with disabilities in Israel

Emotional fundraiser for Beit Issie Shapiro raises more than £275k to support 'tsunami of need for emotional therapy' created since October 7th

Eylon Levy addressing guests at fundraising evening for Beit Issie Shapiro. 11th June 2024. Pic: Michelle Rosenberg
Eylon Levy addressing guests at fundraising evening for Beit Issie Shapiro. 11th June 2024. Pic: Michelle Rosenberg

Former Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy was the host at a gourmet charity event in central London to raise funds for urgent emotional therapy and services for those with disabilities and their families in Israel.

The evening for Beit Issie Shapiro (BIS) in Ra’anana, raising more than £275k, was held at the Lilienblum Restaurant, with a kosher dinner prepared by the team of Israeli Michelin star and celebrity Master Chef Eyal Shani.

The 100 guests included ‘Bring Them Home’ campaigner Noam Sagi, whose 75-year old mother Ada was released from captivity by Hamas in November of last year, together with his wife Michal Cohen Sagi, a board member for BIS.

Hosted by Elena and Yakir Gabay of the Future Directions Foundation, the event focused on the organisation’s groundbreaking work in addressing the dearth of mental health services in Israel and highlighting how the current war has exacerbated and intensified the problem.

Ahmir Lerner, Beit Issie Shapiro’s Executive Director. Pic: Yoav Pichersky

Speakers included Michal Greenlick, who lost her brother, Captain Shaul Greenglick, a 26-year-old reservist from Raanana in the Nahal Brigade in December 2023.

During a furlough from the war, Greenglick performed in uniform on HaKochav Haba, an Israeli reality TV show that auditions performers to represent Israel at Eurovision. He was killed in action in northern Gaza just weeks later. Michal sang in his honour.

Since 7th October, BIS has provided more than 1400 emergency treatments and respite sessions free-of-charge to hundreds of traumatised survivors, evacuees, and other war victims from Israel’s south and north.

Ashira-Greszes-whose-son-receives-therapy-treatments-at-Beit-Issie-Shapiro Pic: Yoav Pichersky.

It has assisted hundreds of people with disabilities and their families in the centre of Israel, assisted in the creation of “Quiet Rooms” for evacuees around the country, and assisted with the emotional therapy treatment of many harmed on or since that day.  Beit Issie is also creating solutions for soldiers to have active independence adjusting to severe/permanent injuries.

Michal Greenglick with Noam Sagi, 10th June 2024.

Guest speaker Ashira Greszes’s two-year-old son Yedidya, born prematurely with severe disabilities, attends Beit Issie Shapiro’s Early Intervention Centre. She spoke movingly about the importance of the Centre’s emotional and mental support for parents, and their complicated journey that brought them to the organisation.

Michal Greenglick, whose performance on the evening was dedicated in memory of her brother, Shauli Greenglick. Pic: Yoav Pichersky.

She said: “Physically, my family is OK, but emotionally, no one in Israel is. The meetings for parents allow us to speak with social workers and share our feelings. It’s so important because, without the support, I don’t know how any of us could go on in this kind of state. Having Beit Issie behind us has changed our entire lives.”

Organiser and host Elena Gabay said: “Tonight, we gather not only to celebrate the remarkable achievements of Beit Issie Shapiro but also to reaffirm our commitment to a future where every person has the opportunity to live a life of dignity, inclusion, and fulfillment.”

R-L-Elena-Gabay-Sasha-Trump-Weiss-Dr-Yoav-Heller. Pic: Yoav Pichersky.

Ahmir Lerner, chief executive officer, BIS, said: “Over the course of several decades, Beit Issie Shapiro has been developing its expertise in the field of emotional therapy for people with disabilities. We say loud and clear that this community deserves high-quality adapted therapy, the same as anyone else.

Guests at fundraising event for Beit Issie Shapiro, 11th June 2024 Pic: Yoav Pichersky.

“The war has created a tsunami of need in the area of emotional therapy, and there is a real lack of these services for people with disabilities. We are unique in providing them.  This is particularly crucial, as people with physical and cognitive impediments are five times more likely to experience mental distress and also face a higher risk of developing PTSD. Approximately 70% of individuals with Autism co-present with a mental health condition. We ask for your help so we may continue forward.”

To support the work of BIS, click here

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