In the middle of the night, in grave danger, Syrian mothers bring their critically ill and wounded children to the Israeli border. Once there, the Israeli army brings them over and into safety at Ziv Medical Center in the northern Israel town of Tzfat. Project Rozana, an Israeli initiative and international non-profit, funds the transportation and treatment of the children and provides hospitality for their mothers.
Due to the war in Syria, there are no longer any adequate facilities to treat children desperately in need of medical care. Project Rozana USA has committed to raise $75,000 to treat these children at Ziv Medical Center. As the Israeli hospital closest to the Syrian border, the Ziv Medical Center has treated about 1,000 wounded and critically ill Syrian children since 2013. Recently, children with chronic medical conditions are being treated as well, and the hospital reports that they have been arriving by the busload.
On January 28th, in the backyard garden of Lisa and Joshua Greer’s home in Beverly Hills, The Theodore Bikel Legacy Project, led by its Director, Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, presented a benefit for Project Rozana USA’s Syrian Children Campaign, which raises funds for the emergency medical treatment of Syrian children in Israeli hospitals. Project Rozana’s vision is to build bridges to peace by funding healthcare for all children in the region at Israeli hospitals. 100% of the evening’s funds raised, through the efforts of The Theodore Bikel Legacy Project, go to Project Rozana USA. The take-away: Now is the time to build bridges to peace by saving these innocent children whose daily lives are full of danger, suffering, loss, and pain.
The intimate and moving evening featured the internationally renowned Israeli musical superstar, multi-platinum recording artist, and peace activist David Broza. Broza shared his infectious music and the story behind his critically acclaimed album and film, “East Jerusalem, West Jerusalem”. His music reflects a fusion of the three countries in which he was raised: Israel, Spain, and England.
“I have been tortured by thoughts of children—Jewish, Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi children, all those who most innocently of all, and most grievously of all, are victims of the Middle East madness. ‘Rachel mebaka et baneha’ – Rachel mourns her children. With her, I weep for the children, knowing that they are all her children, our children, every one of them.” – Theodore Bikel (Summer of 2014, during the war in Gaza)
Attendees included California State Treasurer John Chiang, California Senator Ben Allen, California Assemblyman Richard Bloom, Austrian Consul General Andreas Launer, Israeli Consul for Public Affairs Karin Pery, and former Jewish Journal Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman.
Two doctors from Project Rozana, one Jewish and one Muslim, enlightened the attendees about their life-changing work. They were: Dr. Khadra Hasan Ali Salami, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Specialist at August Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem; and Dr. Hadia Al Abdullah, a Syrian doctor now living in L.A., doing refugee work. Other honored guests included: Dr. Raphi Walden, Deputy Director of Chaim Sheba Medical Center (Tel Hashomer); and Kenneth Bob, Chair, Project Rozana USA.
From the office of Congressman Brad Sherman, a flag that has flown over the U.S. Congress was presented to Broza in honor of his continuing in Bikel’s footsteps using his music in the service of Tikkun Olam, healing the world.
Hazzan Mike Stein of Temple Aliyah warmed up the audience, playing the oud. A Syrian buffet was courtesy of Wafa Ghreier , from the Kobee Factory in Van Nuys. Desserts from Westwood’s Sunin Bakery, courtesy of owner/baker Dolly Sunin.
The Theodore Bikel Legacy Project honors and keeps alive the memory of the beloved actor, singer, Yiddishist, and peace and human rights activist. This is through advancing his passions for music for Tikkun Olam, the preservation and renewal of Jewish culture, in particular the Yiddish culture, and keeping Theo’s own work available to all.
Project Rozana USA
The Theodore Bikel Legacy Project
Mark Miller is a humorist and journalist who has performed stand-up comedy in nightclubs and on TV, written on numerous sit-com staffs, been a humor columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and a Great Gigs interviewer and humor blogger for The Huffington Post. His first book, a collection of his humor essays on dating and romance, is “500 Dates: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Online Dating Wars”.