Keshet Eilon has five Friends Associations in different parts of the world, and I am glad to say that they live up to their name: they are indeed associations of true friends who help us in our important task of publicizing Keshet Eilon as widely as possible, telling people about what we do and getting them enthusiastic about it.
• So how, actually, do you do this?
I’m a great believer in personal contact with people who have that identifiable spark in their eyes that so clearly reveals that the issue is close to their heart. My personal approach is to tell them about Keshet Eilon and the projects underway at the Music Center and invite them to come and visit: after all, there’s nothing like seeing things for oneself. I believe in getting to know people personally and in deepening personal relationships. I also believe in showing patience and sensitivity to others, who, in response, will generally open their hearts, their homes and, quite often, their pockets, too. Everyone has connections, and these can often result in a very generous donation.
• Do the Friends Associations operate only abroad?
No, we have an active Friends Association in Israel, too, composed of wonderful friends who have accompanied us ever since Keshet Eilon was founded, together with others who have joined us along the way. These generous people bring their own circle of friends to Keshet Eilon and donate unstintingly. Some open their homes to host a benefit concert that greatly helps to advance the association’s objectives. I am grateful every day for these wonderful people. They are the salt of the earth, and they represent Israel at its finest. I thank each and every one of them.
• What is the most important aspect of the relationship with members of the Friends Associations?
The main thing is to maintain contact on a personal level and to keep people abreast of what’s going on and of plans for the future. We also have to remain attuned to the nuances that characterize the different associations and identify precisely what aspects need to be emphasized in our relationship with each one. A lot of empathy is required, because these people are devoting their time unsparingly: they initiate events, they are involved in what’s going on at Keshet Eilon and they share our vision. It’s important to identify which particular issues touch the heart of each individual: for some the international aspect is crucial, while for others Jewish-Arab collaboration or Keshet Eilon’s broad multiculturality is the decisive factor.
Music is an international language, as we were able to observe once more when we received a warm, generous welcome a week ago in snow-covered Geneva, where we met up with old friends and made some new ones. We recalled a concert we had held at the UN General Assembly there a number of years ago, for diplomats from the four corners of the earth, all of whom were utterly captivated by the stirring power of the music.