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NEWS AND MEDIA > Articles > Yom Hazikaron

Yom Hazikaron

We welcomed Liam Spilman to share his remarkable story of bravery and resilience. Critically injured in November in a Hezbollah attack on the northern border, Liam is now a Beit Halochem member.
21 May 2024

Liam's UK visit for Yom Hazikaron was packed with poignant events.

At Mill Hill Shul's annual memorial service, he captivated over 400 attendees with his heroic survival story. Alongside Liam, Baroness Deech's words and performances by the Mill Hill Synagogue Adult Choir and Immanuel College Prep School Choir stirred inspiration. The evening was superbly coordinaed by Orli Lang, Israel Engagement Chair, and Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet of Mill Hill United Shul.

The charity was honoured to join a heartfelt ceremony at Lauderdale Road on Monday evening, arranged by Rachel Fink and Rabbi Dweck. This occasion marked the inaugural engagement between Beit Halochem UK and the Spanish and Portuguese communities. Alongside Liam's address, the 150-strong audience listened to three Bar/Bat Mitzvah members share their personal connections to Israel, and enjoyed a performance by the talented Noam Primary School choir.

At the core of Beit Halochem's UK efforts lies youth engagement. During Liam's visit, he spoke at two very powerful Yom Hazikaron ceremonies, at Immanuel College and again at JFS School. The charity were also invited to address a gathering of students under the Etgar banner. Liam shared his tale of resilience, fielded students' questions, and left a lasting impression with his positivity despite life-altering injuries. In a climate of rising antisemitism, inspiring Jewish role models like Liam are crucial for our youth. One parent at JFS summed up the impact Liam had on his daughter, by writing the the following to Head Teacher Dr David Moody: “Good afternoon Dr Moody. I just wanted to drop you an email to thank you for the assembly today. My daughter was completely moved and brought to tears by the speakers. Please give Beit Halochem my sincerest thanks.“

Victoria Portnoi, a board member of Cranbrook United Synagogue, orchestrated a fundraising event for Beit Halochem incorporating the wider Ilford Community. Her unwavering enthusiasm and dedication to our Israeli heroes shone throughout the evening, resulting in a generous donation of £1,400.00 from the community towards Beit Halochem's vital work.

On Tuesday evening, the charity was honoured to address a passionate and Zionistic audience at Muswell Hill Shul. The event, organised by Chairman Daniel Shaw and Events Director Beth Franks, provided attendees with the opportunity to pose questions to both Liam and Beit Halochem CEO, Spencer Gelding. Both communities have expressed keen interest in furthering their partnership with Beit Halochem UK.

Over 100 students and staff from King David Primary School, North Cheshire Jewish Primary School, Bury, and Whitefield Jewish Primary School were inspired by Liam’s remarkable story. The students participated in meaningful readings, sang beautiful songs, and lit memorial candles in a unique service, followed by an Israeli-style lunch. Beit Halochem Project Manager, David Thrilling provided insights into the rehabilitation services at the four Beit Halochem centres, and thanked the students and staff for their hospitality. Michael Woolf, Head of North Cheshire Jewish Primary School, expressed being truly inspired by Liam's story and highlighted the significance of coming together to honour IDF heroes and learn about Beit Halochem's work. Liam noted the strong sense of community and support in the room and thanked the schools for their support.

Liam's lifelong dream came true when he and his father, Itai, were gifted tickets by a Beit Halochem donor, to the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand Suites for the Manchester United vs. Newcastle United football match on Wednesday evening.

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