Monday, September 21, 2015

An evening with the Ambassador

Arnold Roth speaks to guests at the Australian ambassador's
reception for the Malki Foundation
We mentioned a few weeks back ["Diplomatic recognition" | August 21, 2015] that Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma was about to host a by-invitation-only evening in honor of the Malki Foundation at his official residence in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv.

We're pleased to say (and apologize for the delayed report) that the very successful event, replete with strictly-kosher food and beverages (thanks to the diligent and considerate planning by the Embassy's team) took place on Thursday evening, September 3, 2015.

Greer Fay Cashman, writing in her regular Grapevine column in the Jerusalem Post, provided this summary for the newspaper's readers:
[T]he Australian ambassador’s residence in Herzliya Pituah took on a distinctly Jerusalem ambience. Sharma and his wife, Rachel Lord, hosted friends and supporters of the Malki Foundation, which is headed by Arnold Roth, an Australian expat, whose teenage daughter Malki was killed in a terrorist attack in 2001.
Because the Malki Foundation, which was founded by Roth and his wife, Frimet, is headquartered in Jerusalem, many of its friends, supporters and beneficiaries are naturally Jerusalemites. It is dedicated to helping special needs children and their families by finding and funding therapists best suited to help any given case.
Sharon Zinger, an anesthesiologist with a special needs son, said that after he was born she was advised by a neurosurgeon that only with intensive therapies might his condition improve. After running around from doctor to doctor and exhausting their finances, the family discovered the Malki Foundation, which has been helping them ever since, and there has been a definite improvement in her son’s condition. “My son is now in a regular grade-five class,” she said, as some of the people present wiped tears from their eyes.

In addressing the invitation-only crowd in the ambassador's salon, Arnold Roth noted that the event was taking place on the exact anniversary of the day in 1939 on which Australia, along with Great Britain and several other countries, declared war on Nazi Germany. War followed from the invasion of Poland two days earlier by German forces. Roth noted that his mother's village, Wielun, was over-run by Nazi German forces that day, setting in train the long dark tragedy that engulfed the world in general, the Jewish people in particular, and the families of his own mother and father.

Turning to the ambassador as Australia's official representative, he expressed deep personal gratitude for the generosity that had allowed his parents, along with tens of thousands of other Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, to find new homes and endless opportunity Down Under.

Ambassador Dave Sharma and his wife Rachel Lord have given their personal support to several excellent causes in addition to the Malki Foundation. Unusually for diplomatic professionals, that support has extended well beyond making speeches, and has included their being personally involved in kind and worthy actions, in donating time - and not only time:
From the Australian ambassador's Twitter account [Source]
Malki, in whose name the foundation was created in 2001, was the youngest of the Roth children when Frimet and Arnold, her parents, moved from Australia and settled in Jerusalem in 1988.

In providing an overview of background to the Malki Foundation's establishment and the strong growth of its activities for the benefit of special-needs children over some 13 years, Arnold Roth requested that the participants  - about half of whom are current supporters, and more than half of whom live outside the Jerusalem area - give a hand to the Malki Foundation's work by helping to spread the word.

Experiences like the one described by the amazing Dr Sharon Zinger, for instance, rarely fail to move people who learn of them - but not enough people do, and that's something that supporters and well-wishers can help us change.

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