HOPE AND OPTIMISM CELEBRATED AT AFNATAL “SHARING THE LIGHT OF HEALING” GALA SUPPORTING PIONEERING TREATMENT FOR TRAUMA AND PTSD
Jude Yovel Recanati, NATAL’s co–Founder, and President, and Andrew J. Malik, Chairman at Needham & Company honored for their tireless dedication to NATAL AFNATAL (https://www.afnatal.org/) hosted the inaugural “Sharing the Light of Healing” gala with an emotional and moving program that was an inspiring celebration of optimism and healing. The event took place at the illustrious 583 Park Avenue where Jude Yovel Recanati, NATAL’s co–Founder, and President, and Andrew J. Malik, Chairman at Needham honored by the press, community members, philanthropists, and mental health professionals. Emceed by TV journalist, Tijana Ibrahimovic, the gala raised awareness for the pioneering work NATAL has accomplished in Israel and the USA through AFNATAL.
“It is an honor to be recognized for the work of NATAL and AFNATAL in America,” said Jude Yovel
Recanati. “I founded the organization with psychiatrist Dr. Yossi Hadar 25 years ago and it’s
rewarding to have helped support and heal over 450,000 people. NATAL provides therapists,
training, and the only 24/7 telephone helpline with constant support for children, families, soldiers, and people that experience traumatic injuries, PTSD, and illnesses as a result of war, terror, and violence. We are now spreading this expertise through our Global NATAL programs and through AFNATAL in America. Tonight’s gala also introduces Emi Palmor, our new Chair, to continue building and growing NATAL for years to come.”
Yair Aquizerat, an Israeli soldier, student, husband, father, and NATAL client spoke movingly about his four–year journey of trauma and treatment. He credits NATAL for helping him understand that he was not alone in his suffering. “One of my fears was the thought of how I would be able to function as a father when I could not function myself. My greatest personal victory is fatherhood. I am now in a place where I feel lucky and grateful for the path I have taken.”
Pastor Chris Harris of Chicago’s Bright Star Community Outreach, went to Israel and was struck by the similarity of the impact of violence and war. Following an engaging exchange with Rabbi Michael Siegel, who developed the Chicago program with him, Pastor Harris sang the Hatikvah,
Israel’s National anthem, in a splendid gospel version. He spoke about bringing the NATAL model of counseling, creating the 24/7 Hotline, and training therapists to reach several thousand African American people in Chicago where urban violence continues to rise dramatically.
Andrew J. Malik received AFNATA’s first Impact Award, spoke about being a Holocaust survivor, the PTSD his parents faced, and how it all came together when he learned about NATAL. “When I was introduced to Jude, it wasn’t 15 minutes with this remarkable woman, that I was in her thrall. Her obvious dedication to NATAL and its work came through so dramatically. Its mission struck a deep-rooted chord in me. Remember, my mother and father.”
Words of support, inspiration, and encouragement were also provided in a keynote speech by Dan Halutz, Israeli Air Force Lieutenant General, former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, and Commander of the Israeli Air Force, who talked about the need to recognize PTSD and trauma as a silent killer, and the life-changing work of NATAL. Asaf Zamir, the Israeli politician, and diplomat spoke about anti-Semitism and how the work of NATAL is helping to create a positive perception of Israel through this important mental health work.
The evening concluded with a successful Fund-A-Need Live Appeal with auctioneer Pat Tully.