Earlier this year I had the opportunity to help a cause I believe in through My Brother’s Keeper International (MBKI), a non-profit organization dedicated to finding educational solutions for children and families living in poverty and conflict zones in Israel. They’ve been in operation since 2005 strengthening early education by providing school lunches, resourcing under funded schools and building playgrounds, greenhouses and other memorial projects for victims of terror.
I have the privilege of knowing the president of MBKI, Dov ben Zion Gelman. So, when he approached me about creating art for his organization, I knew I wanted to contribute. He told me the story of 19 year old Sgt. Ron Kokia of the Israeli Defense Force who was murdered in the city of Arad on November 30, 2017. In his memory, MBKI is coordinating and fundraising for the construction of a Healing Forest in the Kiryat Arba/Hebron’s Girls School located in the ancient city of Hebron.
Once printed, my painting of Sgt. Kokia will be presented to his father and mother. I hope that this simple artwork of a great young man pays homage—in some way—to his own efforts in defending Israel, its people, and the family he left behind. No work of art, photograph, or memory can possibly replace the physical presence of a loved one, but I hope they will forgive the limitations of this artist and receive it in the spirit in which is was humbly created.
If you have the ability, and you feel so moved, please consider donating to My Brother’s Keeper International here.