From the moment that entertainer Meir Kay bounced onto the stage this past Motzoei Shabbos, Hoshana Rabba Eve, every guest in the Sherover Auditorium at the Jerusalem Theater realized that they were in for a night to be remembered.
The atmosphere was electric and it immediately propelled the audience into spontaneous clapping and dancing around the huge hall, right up to the front stage.
Friendship Circle of Central Jerusalem, directed by Chabad Shluchim to Talbiya/ Mamilla, Rabbi Eli and Chanie Canterman, founded its first ever “Night of Song for Every Child”, sponsoring the participation of over 13 additional organizations who service children with special needs in Jerusalem.
The concept # Every Child Deserves To Sing was created to enable the children to come and enjoy a musical event together with the wider community who would surround, embrace and salute them.
The team effort of FC Jerusalem, together with Tzvaim Productions, resulted in an evening that for many children became the most moving and beautiful event they have ever experienced.
FC Board member Mr. Howard Jackson, chaired the event, encouraging even the most reserved of guests to leave their seats and join the dancing.
Children and teen friends alike filled the hall, springing forth from both their seats and their wheelchairs when the music began, and together with the crowd of almost 1000 people, they danced effortlessly, all the way down the aisles.
It could be said, that the explosive happiness of the children, their families and teen friends, spurred on singer star Benny Friedman to give one of his best performances ever! Song after song, Benny roused and uplifted the crowd. The emotions expressed on the faces of the dancing children resulted in an outpouring of palpable joy, kindness and enthusiasm from the rest of the seated audience.
For many of the special children that night, this was the first time they had attended a concert. Only this concert was different. It was a celebration and a salute to them as guests of honor for their triumphs over their daily, unique challenges.
Guest speakers, city councilman Arieh King, Businessmen Kevin Bermeister and Rami Levy spoke of the honor that this unity and inclusion added, to the special fabric that makes up the holy city of Jerusalem.
Ariella and Zvi of the Friendship Circle surprised the crowd with a beautiful duet on their flutes, of ” Shirat Haasavim”.
Another winning ticket was when the youngest volunteer of FC Central Jerusalem, Chaim Zippel, joined Benny Friedman in singing ” Beshem Hashem” to a roar of applause.
Works of art created by the Friendship Circle participants were auctioned by speed dial Silent Auction during one of the hit songs. Guests viewed the art on screens and made their bids, causing the children to feel valued and special.
“Much team effort, sleepless nights and and worry of a ‘first time event’ were blended into the creation of this event”, commented Chanale Canterman of FC Central Jerusalem, ” No one could anticipate outcome..
Yet the endless flow of responses from the FC families made us realize that not only was it worth the effort, but that this night of musical togetherness must turn into an annual on Hoshana Rabba in Jerusalem.”
People experience growth, when feeling celebrated and recognized. Among the many feedback messages following the musical night, one anecdote that truly stood out was an emotional message from a Friendship Circle mom, whose daughter has selective muteness. “In the 5 years she has been a part of FC, she hasn’t spoken a word,” recounted her volunteer Rena S.
Below is the feedback from Hallel’s mom and the words Hallel herself uttered: “Thank you very much for the amazing performance yesterday. Hallel was in the clouds. She’s never had such a special experience. Everyone enjoyed it. You gave us a wonderful beginning for the New Year. You filled buckets of joy and prepared us well for the Simchat Torah dances.”