Asher Ben-Natan Z"L

When Rita sings, she opens the hearts of everyone present. Her beautiful music and stories are infused with her passion and love of Israel. She touches us all profoundly. Hearing her perform is a rare opportunity…not to be missed.

Asher Ben-Natan Z"L Former Israeli Ambassador to Germany and France
Sir Martin Gilbert Z"L

I have known Ritasue since her remarkable involvement in struggle for Soviet Jews, when she was a font of energy, ideas, and inspiration, both to the campaigners in Israel and the West, and to the Soviet Jews themselves. Today, she brings that same dynamism and passion, that same fierce commitment, to her work with Israel’s wounded soldiers and airmen.

Her programme about her work with the wounded – her gift of song and empathy – moves audiences to tears, as she shares her heart, soul and voice to connect her audiences to the Israel she loves, and for whom she devotes her waking hours. To hear her tell the stories of these soldiers, of their courage and endurance, is an inspiration.

Sir Martin Gilbert Z"LHistorian & Churchill’s Official Biographer
General Benny Gantz

Dear Rita, in recognition and much admiration, as much as your admiration is to our soldiers, so is our admiration for you.

General Benny GantzFormer IDF Chief of Staff.
President Shimon Peres Z"L

“Rita, I  thank you and am proud of all you do for our soldiers.”

Ritasue was privileged to have a private audience with Shimon Peres when he was hospitalized in the last few months of his life. Ritasue sang to the former President and was humbled to have Peres sing along with her and receive warm words and a hug from Mr. Peres

President Shimon Peres Z"L9th President of Israel & Nobel Peace Prize Winner

My Darling Rita,

only a few months had gone by, since my beloved son, ro’i, had fallen in the 2nd lebanon war. i was at an evening with the “one family fund”, and suddenly you appeared. you sat beside me, introduced yourself, and asked to hear my painful story. with tears in your eyes, you hugged me, and from that moment we became dear friends. i asked who you were, and what you were doing at this evening for bereaved families of tzahal.

When you told me that you sang for wounded soldiers in hospitals, i simply could not believe what i was hearing. suddenly you were introduced and called upon to sing. with guitar in hand your voice rang out as clear as a bell, as you sang songs of optimism, and prayer, hope and love. i was so moved by what i was hearing. from the time my Roi’le was killed, i have never been able to listen to music of any kind, as it was simply too painful. and suddenly, i found myself crying. my spirit was awakening, and my heart was opening in joy. how was this possible?what you are doing for our soldiers and their families is indescribable. your songs and your heart bring comfort and gladness.

In spite of their pain, you put a smile on their faces, and allow our brave soldiers to look to the future with hope in their hearts. thank you for everything you have done for me, and for them.

With much love,
Shoshi

Shoshi KleinMother of Fallen Soldier, Major Roi Klein Z"L

For Rita, my angel,

A little less than a year ago, my life changed dramatically. i was diagnosed with leukemia, and felt as if my world had collapsed around me. i was hospitalized for close to 5 months, and treated with aggressive chemotherapy. to avoid risk of infection, i was placed in isolation. this was clearly the hardest challenge of my life, defined by not knowing if i would survive.

I tried to find “anchors” to grasp on to, who would understand me, support me, and not let me fall. and suddenly, before my very eyes, an angel, named Rita, with guitar in hand, appeared in my hospital room. she came the first week i was admitted, and continued to come each week, to stand by me, throughout my entire hospitalization. her singing moved me deeply and i shed many tears each time she sang for me in tel hashomer. through these visits, a precious friendship developed, existing until today. i found in Rita a shoulder to lean on, and a woman with a heart of gold. her presence during this painfully difficult time in my life gave me the strength i needed to fight my illness. she was my inspiration throughout. i am now healthy, and i will never forget what she did for me. thank you for it all, Rita.

Major Aviran RazIntelligence corps, iDF
Rabbi Richard Hammerman

“Mesmerizing” and “inspirational,” “educational” and “entertaining” would be just a few of the adjectives which describe Ritasue Charlestein as a guest speaker, performer and inspirational speaker.After inviting Ritasue Charlestein to visit for a weekend at Congregation B’nai Israel, Toms River, New Jersey I told her that she should “advertise herself” as an “inspirational speaker”. She was unwilling to accept that accolade. However, truth be told, that is what she is. Her work with wounded Israeli soldiers, and the unique way in which she tells of her interaction with those who are so in need of love, encouragement and joy, is truly an inspiration.

Joining song and story, Ritasue Charlestein manages to convey an unforgettable picture of life “beyond the veil” of the “real Israel” along with the pain, heartache, hope and joy in Israeli life. Any group fortunate enough to have Ritasue Charlestein share her story and Israel’s message with them will be inspired, enlightened and enthralled. Please feel free to contact me for further elucidation and information.

Rabbi Richard HammermanRabbi Emeritus, Congregation B’nai Israel Toms River, NJ
Rabbi Jonthan Porath

I have known Ritasue Charlestein for over 40 years. She has been blessed with an extraordinary talent for caring and sharing. She is filled with passion and deep love for the Jewish people, whether, in Soviet times, encouraging Jewish Refuseniks both in Russia and after their arrival in Israel, and today, listening to the heartfelt feelings of wounded Israeli soldiers and nurturing their family members and loved ones, or participating as part of an Israeli Army delegation to the death camps of Poland. Wherever she goes, she brings words and music from her deepest soul which penetrate the heart of the listener. If you have the opportunity to hear Ritasue–you are certain to be inspired.

Rabbi Jonthan PorathJerusalem
Rabbi Jim Lebeau

Ritasue Charlestein touches the hearts of all those who hear her sing and speak of the remarkable encounters she has had in Israel. Her love for Israel and her compassion for others is proven by the program she offers to groups. What a special experience awaits you!

Rabbi Jim LebeauJersualem

Ritasue Charlestein is one of the best speakers we have had at our events in a very long time. Her blend of true-life story telling, singing, and guitar work did not leave a dry eye in the house. There is no doubt she is as sincere as one can be in her love and compassion for the brave boys in the IDF who have given so much. I look forward to her next trip to the states so I can book her again. She is a joy to work with!

Steve LandisIsrael Bonds, Houston, Texas

As former Philadelphia Women’s Division Chair of Israel bonds I have had the privilege of experiencing Ritasue in concert in Israel and in the States. Her performances are a work of heart and soul. Her wonderful song choices in Hebrew, Yiddish and English are complimented by her exquisite and moving stories about “her soldiers” and her life long commitment to their rehab. She is a true National Treasure in Israel. Any audience will respond to her talents with emotion and delight!

Julie MillerSisterhood President of Congregation Or Shalom, Berwyn Pennsylvania

Ritasue,

What a pleasure it was meeting you, and being able to learn so much of what you do!! The Israeli army is fortunate to have such a person to show love and affection to so many in need of tlc.

I am so grateful for the Rabbi’s recommendation. My only disappointment was that more people were not in attendance to hear this wonderful and necessary program.

Gary HaradPresident, Congregation Beth Shalom (Delaware)
Yael Rosen

Ritasue brings people alive with her music, wisdom and smile.

In special meetings with Righteous Among the Nations in Israel, she’s shared these gifts with rescuers who have given life to Jews during the Holocaust, and to generations after. From Ivan in Holon, who at age 17 saved 22 Jews in Yugoslavia, to Orna Shurani, one of 3 sisters who together hid 27 Jewish men in Hungary, and to Elizabeth Strul, rescuing Jews in Iasi, Romania.

We’ve driven throughout Israel, singing, laughing, crying and thanking individuals who casted their lot with the Jewish people, not only by risking their lives during the Holocaust but also by choosing to live in the Jewish State.

Thank you for this privilege.

Yael Rosen, ATZUM – Righteous Among the Nations Project

Yael RosenProject Manager at Righteous Among the Nations Project / ATZUM
Karyn London

Ritasue knows only how to love from the heart! Since she fell in love with Israel all she has done is give to the land
of Israel and the Jewish people. Ritasue has fallen in love with every chayal and chayelet who serve and protect the Jewish Nation. She has also fallen in love with every Israeli citizen who has been injured or lost a dear one
in an act of terror. She has dedicated herself to visiting these soldiers and citizens. Ritasue sings to them, befriends them, and loves them with heart words and song. While working as a social
worker with Survivor of Terror families for ATZUM I was blessed to work closely with Ritasue to help many
individuals and whole families, all survivors of Terror.

Her words and songs resonate and help the healing process, both mental and physical. It’s an honor and privilege to be Ritasue’s friend and colleague.

Karyn LondonSocial Worker working with survivors of terror families / ATZUM Justice Works
Hazzan David F. Tilman, DHL

Ritasue Charlestein has been singing the songs of the Jewish people for decades!

During her residence in the State of Israel, she has utilized her musical gifts and prodigious repertoire to sing for Israel Defense Force soldiers seriously wounded in defense of Medinat Yisrael.  Her renditions of classic Israeli songs, presented with her natural mezzo voice and accompanied on her own guitar, have proven to be almost miraculous cures for soldiers who were near death, in some cases reviving them from unconsciousness and near death comas!  Ritasue relates these incredible stories of the power of Jewish musical therapy to her audiences with sincerity, beauty, honesty, and self taught musicality.  Ritasue’s saga inspires in the hearts of the audiences a sense of love of the State of Israel, her soldiers, people, and unique music.

I recommend her enthusiastically and without reservation!

Hazzan David F. Tilman, DHLHazzan Emeritus, Beth Sholom Congregation, Elkins Park /Conductor, Jewish Music Educator, and Lecturer
Rabbi Moshe Saks
“This past weekend, we hosted Ritasue Charlestein as our scholar-in-residence, in our congregation in Scranton, Pa.  She has been volunteering with the IDF for the last 35 years, and is affectionately known as “the singer of Israel’s wounded soldiers”.  Her stories and songs are both amazing and inspirational!  At her Sunday event, she received a standing ovation by all present.  I would heartily recommend Ritasue for your own congregations.  She is wonderful”!
Rabbi Moshe SaksTemple Israel of Scranton