A Londoner has raised close to £2,000 for Israeli charity ALEH after being moved to tears by the story of retired major general Doron Almog, who founded a residential village for young people with learning disabilities.
Sharna Kotlowski Kinsley, 48, walked 36 miles over a two-day period, starting on Sunday at Chelsea Bridge and ending the next day outside the Israeli embassy, where she was greeted by acting ambassador Sharon Bar-li.
The Battersea photographer was joined for part of the way by walkers Jules Katz, Deborah Markham, Laureen Levy, Susan Berman, Jenny Hoppen, Jonatha Hoffman and Martin Kirsch – and dogs Winston, Ralph and Opal.
Kotlowski Kinsley was inspired to do her bit after listening to Almog describe his journey helping found Aleh Negev – which was later renamed after his son Eran, a former resident who died in 2007, aged 23.
“It was just the most heart-touching talk I’d ever heard. It made me cry, listening to it,” she said about Almog’s speech, which she heard during a Zoom event run by Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson, director of Chabad of Belgravia.
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“I’m normally a person that plans to do things and sometimes often get round to it, but I just thought this needs to be done. This talk had such an impact on me that as i was listening i thought i just need to raise for these kids,” she added.
She said it was important to show solidarity with Israeli charities, particularly now. “It’s such a crucial time for them to have any however small financial boost they can.”
British Friends of ALEH director Liron Rosiner Reshef expressed gratitude to her for “turning inspiration into action and pounding the pavement for two straight days.”
“During these confusing times, it is so heartwarming to see people go above and beyond to help ALEH’s lifesaving mission, and reach out from afar to show love for our ALEH family. These acts of extreme kindness help us stay upbeat and focused, and provide our amazing kids with everything they need to not just survive but thrive,” she added.