“My son, Netanel, is now in a regular Grade 5 class” announced Sharon Zinger and not one of the 70 captivated guests were left with a dry eye.
Sharon, an anaesthesiologist, told of her personal experience in taking care of a son with special needs during an event at the home of Australian Ambassador, Dave Sharma, last week. The event was held in honour of the Malki Foundation (Keren Malki), founded by Australian expat Arnold Roth and his wife Frimet.
When Sharon’s son was born she was advised by a neurosurgeon that only with intensive therapies his condition may improve. After funds from the HMO ran out, and after having spent all their own money, the family discovered Keren Malki and they have been by their side ever since.
The Malki Foundation programs aim at empowering the families and Sharon Zinger’s story is just one of many of their successes.
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.
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.
The circumstances which brought about the creation of the Malki Foundation are tragic. Arnold and Frimet Roth’s daughter, Malki, was killed in a terrorist attack at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in 2001, aged only 15. Malki’s family refused for her to become another statistic. And thus they established the foundation – a legacy to the care that Malki took of a sister whom she adored, with special needs. Fourteen years have passed and the Malki Foundation has improved the lives of several thousand families from every walk of life since then.
Much of the foundation’s funding comes from friends and family in Australia as well as expats in Israel. Sharma and his wife, Rachel Lord were honoured to be able to show their support for such a worthy cause and the Ambassador expressed his gratitude to the foundation for their generosity of spirit and deep commitment in helping others in need.