STARRY NIGHTS Gala 2010
This year our keynote speaker was internationally acclaimed humanitarian activist Sir Bob Geldof. Geldoff, who was born and raised in Ireland, is co-founder of the charity super-group BAND AID, which was created to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. Following that success he organized LIVE AID and then the LIVE 8 concerts. He is also the lead singer for the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats. Geldof was granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Not only has he received a Man of Peace title but he has also been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Bob Geldof, the hyperactive activist by Rosie DiManno in The Toronto Star
Sir Bob Geldof on Q UNCUT with Jian Ghomeshi
Our STARRY NIGHTS M.C. was David Shore – creator, writer and executive producer for the award winning television series HOUSE M.D. Shore, a former lawyer, was born in Canada and has won numerous prestigious awards including a Gemini for the Canadian television series Due South, and a Primetime Emmy Award for House. House is distributed to 66 countries and in 2008 it was the most watched television program in the entire world.
House creator David Shore on love, mystery and charity – an article from the Globe and Mail
Ve’ahavta was pleased to present Tikun Olam Awards (Repairing the World) to many special and deserving humanitarians. This soulful evening highlighted exceptional Mitzvahs (Good Deeds) in areas of philanthropy, education, remembrance, young leadership, medical and charitable work.
A Reflection on Starry Nights
My heart started racing as soon as I saw the Center for Performing Arts, and the large congregation of people inside the front doors. I paused to collect myself, as I have never attended an event like Starry Nights.
Once inside my level of anxiety grew. I could not believe that I was going to deliver a speech to near 800 people. I tried to eat, but my stomach would not allow me to enjoy the lovely spread. My nerves had the best of me.
I mingled for a while, and then Kirill found me to take me to the side stage area in preperation for my speech. I sat with Avrum and we spoke. Avrum always calms me down. He has such a gentle soul, and he always makes me feel like a worthy human being… something that I haven’t had for most of my life, something that I am very much still getting used to after years of marginalization.
Avrum and I sat and spoke with David Shore, and to my surprise, David knew who I was and knew about the Ve’ahavta Street Academy. He told me that I should be proud of myself for all the hard work that I have done to help other people. He was pleased with me.
I shuffled my way to the seat in the second row so Sir Bob Geldof could sit beside Avrum. To my surprise, again, when Bob came in he sat beside me. He immediately extended his hand and said, in his lovely Irish accent, “Hello there, how are you?” We sat and made light conversation till the show started.
When Mark Diamond was speaking I was watching the visuals behind him and I felt so proud. There were two of my very own ideas up for the whole auditorium to see. The Ve’ahavta Street Academy and the relief efforts for the 200 Wellesley Street Fire. I felt like I have made a good contribution to Ve’ahavta.
At the end of Avrum’s speech he introduced me. I took my spot at the podium. When I got there I realized I could not see anyone in the audience and immediately I was calm and delivered my speech. It is sometimes hard to take a chance, to tell your story in front of so many. I was unbelievably comfortable. The speech was smooth and delivered just the way I wanted it to be.
After I was done I walked off the stage, I was met by Mark Diamond who asked me to turn around, when I did I saw the whole auditorium on their feet. I was so overwhelmed. Avrum asked me to return to the stage to thank everyone to which I did with great confidence.
During the intermission, I could not walk five strides without someone stopping me to congratulate me, or to wish me well. Each and every person that I spoke to was inspired by me. It was such a lovely opportunity for me to see my worth.
When I returned home the adrenaline kicked in and I could not sleep for hours.
Here I was once again just wrappped up in the love that I recieve from Ve’ahavta. Ve’ahavta has helped me so much over the years. The one thing that I stand tall to proclaim is that Ve’ahavta has been pivotal in helping me feel good about myself. Starry Nights was an exceptional example of this. I felt so good, and so loved by the end of the evening. It is so nice to know that I am never going to have to suffer in silence again.
Thank you Ve’ahavta for all the support that you have shown me, in the past and in the present. I am forever grateful to you.
Founding Director, Ve’ahavta Street Academy