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Wounded Soldiers

Wounded Soldiers

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Israeli soldiers wounded in battle have made enormous sacrifices on behalf of Israel and the Jewish People worldwide. They deserve the gratitude, respect and affection of Jews everywhere.

CTVP volunteers spend a great deal of time visiting them in hospitals and in rehabilitation facilities. When they have to spend long periods of time under care, CTVP provides them with laptop computers so they can stay in touch with friends all over. This greatly relieves the sense of isolation they often experience.

Once they have achieved a certain degree of rehabilitation, CTVP arranges special trips of a lifetime for these Israeli heroes.

When We Heard the Company Commander’s Words, We Sprang into Action…

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As they exited their vehicle to engage the Palestinian rock throwers attacking them, Israeli Defense Forces soldiers were run over by a Palestinian car that came out of the darkness headed straight toward them at a high rate of speed.

Five were wounded in this vehicular terror attack and were rushed by Magen David Adom paramedics to the nearest hospital.  A sixth soldier managed to open fire on the terrorists. 

Among the five soldiers wounded by the car that night was the company commander named Ron. Our colleague, Rabbi Itzik Neimark of Chabad of Chevron, knows Ron from his service in Chevron some time before.

Rabbi Neimark’s first call was to us at Chabad’s Terror Victims Project (CTVP) and we immediately sent a large team to the hospital to visit and assist the soldiers and their families. Ron, the commander, told us that his company’s spirits were very low and was there anything CTVP could do to help lift their spirits?

We immediately sprang into action and, coordinating with Rabbi Neimark, we arranged a spectacular barbeque, with all the trimmings, for 140 soldiers at their base. 

Together we sang and danced and ate delicious food. The soldiers heard moving words of inspiration and encouragement from their commander Ron. Though still wounded, he came to the barbeque on crutches to be with his men. There was also a video hookup for those still in the hospital. 

Before we went to the barbeque, we went to the hospital to visit Gal, one of the soldiers wounded in the attack. It was his birthday that day and we brought balloons and gifts to cheer him up. We told him we were on our way to be with the rest of his company to celebrate the miracle of their having survived the attack. 

Joining CTVP at this celebration of life with the soldiers was Rabbi Mayshe Schwartz, Chabad Shaliach of Brookline, and his friend Dr. David Katzin from Los Angeles. 

Both also shared words of encouragement and gratitude during the barbeque. They told the soldiers how deeply grateful the Jewish people around the world are for their courage and for their protection of Israel and all Jews everywhere. 

It was a very moving evening that allowed the soldiers to have a brief respite from the tension and vigilance they are constantly under because of the random and vicious nature of the horrific terror attacks that have been perpetrated against Israel and her people in recent weeks. 

You too can help the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and the people of Israel during this dangerous time by clicking here to make the largest emergency donation to Chabad’s Terror Victims Project you can. You will be directly aiding and supporting the soldiers and people of Israel when you do. They send their deepest gratitude to you. 

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Wounded IDF 'Trip of a Lifetime' To Toronto

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When an IDF soldier sustains painful, difficult wounds defending us, we feel it is fitting to show our tremendous appreciation and gratitude in another concrete way. For CTVP that takes the form of a trip of a lifetime they would never otherwise be able to experience. (This is our 14th trip!)  

Mid July 2015, Chabad’s Terror Victims Project (CTVP) will be joining with the leadership and members of Chabad at Flamingo to bring ten wounded Israeli soldiers and chaparones  to Toronto for the trip of a lifetime.  

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan a delegation from Chabad at Flamingo made a trip to Israel after the recent war 'Operation Protective Edge'. Together with Rabbis Yossi Swerdlov and Menachem Kutner of CTVP, they brought much support and solidarity to the children of Sderot, the soldiers wounded in the Gaza War, and the bereaved families who lost beloved ones in the conflict.  

Now, the community is opening its arms to bring these soldiers to Toronto. We know the trip will be deeply touching and inspiring for them as it has been for every community that has hosted wounded Israeli soldiers.  

We want to introduce you to the young men who will be visiting Toronto.  Each is a hero whose courage and bravery are beyond measure.  

 

 Introducing: The Courageous Israel Defense Forces Soldiers Visiting Toronto July 2015

 Boaz.jpgBar: 

21 years old • Bat Ayin 

Bar served in the Golani Brigade in the 12th Battalion. He and his regiment were in Sg’aaih in Gaza, an area full of senior Hamas combatants, tracking down terrorists. They’d been destroying terror tunnels and were going to spend the night in an unoccupied house. Bar and some of his comrades volunteered to go to a nearby tank to transfer equipment to the house. Terrorists fired a missile and began shooting at them from all directions. Eight soldiers were wounded, among them Bar who suffered a severe leg injury and had shrapnel penetrate his entire body. He was evacuated by helicopter to Beilinson Medical Center where he remained for six weeks, undergoing three complex surgeries. He was then moved to Tel Hashomer rehabilitation for a month and a half. Bar continues to undergo daily physical therapy. 

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Gabi  

41 years old • Modiin 

Gabi served as a combat soldier in the engineering corps. He operated a D9 bulldozer used to detect weapons tunnels. Even though he was over 40, married, and had children, Gabi volunteered to continue serving in the reserves. His reserve duty began when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped. He assisted with searching for them and then became part of the soldiers fighting the Gaza War. Gabi and his unit found and destroyed 29 weapons tunnels during weeks of continuous fighting. His unit then received information about a tunnel 40 meters deep which needed special drilling and other equipment that his unit had. As they arrived at the tunnel, an anti-tank missile was fired at them and exploded near Gabi's D9. 11 soldiers were wounded, two very seriously, one of them Gabi. 300 shrapnel pieces penetrated all over his body. He has undergone many operations and is in rehabilitation today. 

Eliosef.jpgAdiel

21 years old • Kiryat Ata 

During the destruction of four terrorist tunnels during the Gaza War, Adiel and his unit discovered a cement plant used to manufacture concrete for the tunnels. During the demolition of the plant, a wall fell onto an electric pole that created a short circuit and a fire that struck Adiel’s D9 bulldozer, causing severe burns to his arms and hands. He was evacuated to the Israeli border and then airlifted by helicopter to the burn ward in Tel Hashomer. Adiel was in a coma for 11 days and underwent eight surgeries and skin grafts. He is still in rehabilitation and is expected to undergo a series of treatments for another two years. 

Eran.jpgYakir

23 years old • Zichron Yaakov

After three years in the IDF, Yakir elected to continue serving as a combat engineer. When the Gaza War broke out, he was serving in Judea and Samaria. He wanted to join the fighting in Gaza and became part of an auxiliary unit of the famous Duvdivan division.  During the ceasefire, suspicion arose that the terrorists were gathering bombs in a tunnel near their site. A convoy proceeded – led by a D9 followed by tanks and another D9 – to open a path so the Duvdivan unit could enter and destroy the tunnel. Yakir was the commander of the first D9 leading the operation. Out of nowhere, an RPG rocket was shot at his D9 and he took a direct hit. The soldier next to him was killed. Yakir was seriously injured but remained fully conscious. He radioed for help and, as he was being evacuated by tank, a fire fight broke out between the terrorists and the Duvdivan unit.  A helicopter transported Yakir to Tel Hashomer. The missile had hit his leg, entered his stomach, and ripped his intestines. Yakir has undergone ten operations. He was hospitalized for five months – two in intensive care and three in rehab. He continues to come to the hospital several times a week for treatments as an outpatient.   

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20 years old • Elkana 

Reuben grew up in San Diego and he and his family immigrated to Israel. During the Gaza War, Reuven fought in Saagia for two days. Then he was sent to Deir Al Balah to locate and destroy terror tunnels. In the evening, on the way out of the area after a successful operation, they were traveling in an armored vehicle. They were just 100 meters from the Israeli border when terrorists shot a mortar rocket at them. Five soldiers were killed, 15 wounded. Reuben was injured very badly. He was evacuated by helicopter to Tel Hashomer. He has undergone four major operations and was hospitalized for four months. He was moved to the rehabilitation department where he remains today. 
 

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21 years old • Rosh Ayin 

Elad’s battalion waited over a week at a gathering site along the Gaza border before they received orders to enter the hostile area.  After two hours, a missile was fired at them but no one was hit. They penetrated deeper into Gaza when they were suddenly fired at from terrorists. One soldier was wounded. Then another bullet from a sniper hit Elad, entering through his left ear and exiting through his right eye. Elad was evacuated by tank to the border, and then by an armored troop carrier to a helicopter. He was flown to Beilinson Hospital in critical condition. Elad lost his right eye and now has a prosthetic eye. He also sustained internal damage and had meningitis and multiple surgeries during the two months he was hospitalized. Today he continues to go for rehabilitation regularly. 

Dor.jpgShlomo

20 years old • Jerusalem 

A large fighting battalion was in Gaza clearing the area of terrorists. On the Friday of that week, Shlomo went with several other soldiers to the command center in Gaza to bring equipment, food, and water for the combat battalion. They encountered sniper fire and Solomon was hit in the left elbow, nearly severing his hand. He was evacuated by tank to the border and from there to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. He underwent 12 complex surgeries to reattach his hand. It is reattached but he will need additional surgeries in the future. He continues to undergo rehabilitation. 

Mordechai.jpgYehonatan

23 years old • Elad 

Yehonatan, a commander in the Kfir Brigade Battalion, and two of his soldiers, were on patrol in a hostile village near Gush Etzion, Al Aruv. Their mission: to prevent terrorists from throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles. As they came down from their security post, a terrorist with a large commercial vehicle ran over them. One soldier flew 15 meters, falling on a garbage bag that provided a soft landing. A second soldier was moderately wounded. Yehonatan flew into the air, landing on the road. One of his comrades pulled him over, saving him from the terrorist’s second attempt to run him over. He was evacuated to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in critical condition, with multiple wounds and a severe head injury. He was unconscious for a month, hanging between life and death. In addition to his head injury, he suffered injuries in his right leg and hand and in his chest. He had multiple internal injuries, 16 broken ribs, and double fractures. After a long series of operations, he was hospitalized for two and a half more months in Tel Hashomer Hospital. Yehonatan continues to go to rehabilitation now. 

TRIP OF A LIFETIME FOR WOUNDED IDF SOLDIERS

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When an IDF soldier sustains painful, difficult wounds defending us, we feel it is fitting to show our tremendous appreciation and gratitude in another concrete way. For CTVP that takes the form of a trip of a lifetime they would never otherwise be able to experience. (This is our 13th trip!)

  

At the end of this month of February 2015, Chabad’s Terror Victims Project (CTVP) will be joining with the leadership and members of the Shul of Bal Harbor to bring ten wounded Israeli soldiers to Miami for the trip of a lifetime. 

 

Rabbi Zalman Lipskar and a delegation from The Shul made a trip to Israel after the recent war 'Operation Protective Edge'. Together with Rabbis Yossi Swerdlov and Menachem Kutner of CTVP, they brought much support and solidarity to the children of Sderot, the soldiers wounded in the Gaza War, and the bereaved families who lost beloved ones in the conflict. 

 

Now, the community is opening its arms to bring these soldiers to Miami. We know the trip will be deeply touching and inspiring for them as it has been for every community that has hosted wounded Israeli soldiers. 

 

We want to introduce you to the young men who will be visiting Miami.  Each is a hero whose courage and bravery are beyond measure.  

 Introducing: The Courageous Israel Defense Forces Soldiers Visiting Florida February 2015

 Boaz.jpgBoaz

22 years old • Jerusalem

Boaz (left) is a platoon commander who led tanks into Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. His battalion was am­bushed on July 7 2014. Eight soldiers were wounded includ­ing Boaz and his friend Roy (below). They were evacuated by helicopter to Tel Hashomer. Boaz sustained severe injuries to his hands and neck. He has had four surgeries to date. For three months Boaz was in in-facility rehabilitation. He now goes for daily rehab.

 

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21 years old • Reut

Roy served in the Golani Brigade with his friend Boaz (above). He was a platoon commander. When they entered Gaza in July in tanks, they were ambushed. Eight soldiers were wounded. Roy and Boaz were both evacuated by helicopter to Tel Hashomer. Roy’s had a finger cut off and shrapnel in his back and neck. The doctors saved his hand during a major surgery. His in-facility rehabilitation took three months and now he goes daily to the rehab center.

 

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23 years old • Migdal Oz

Eliosf’s battalion was the first to occupy terror tunnels and the homes of two terrorists in Gaza. Only July 7, 2014, they moved their tank close to one house. Eliosf threw a grenade toward the house which suddenly bounced back into the tank. In a split second decision, he covered the grenade with his body, saving the other 12 soldiers. In a miracle, he survived but was severely wounded. He was evacuated by helicopter to Tel Hashomer, has had four surgeries, and four months of intensive in-facility rehabilitation. He now goes daily to the rehab center.

 

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21 years old • Even Yehuda

Eran was responsible for supplies and logistics for sol­diers fighting in Gaza. On July 28, 2014 he was in a field at a gathering point on the border of Gaza with other soldiers. A mortar shell was fired at them. The group took a direct hit with four soldiers killed and many wounded. Eran took shrapnel in his left eye and the entire left side of his body, as well as injuries to his foot. He was evacuated by ambulance to Soroka where he has had three surgeries. He spent three months at Tel Hashomer for in-facility rehabilitation and now goes to rehab on a daily basis.

 

Tal.jpgTal

21 years old • Kfar Sava

Tal was a commander in the Golani Brigade. On July 20, 2014, his team exposed and destroyed three terror tunnels. They then received information about four ter­rorists in a house in Gaza. Tal’s team exchanged gunfire with them. The terrorists threw a grenade followed by five missiles which collapsed the floor of the building Tal and his team were in. Five soldiers were killed, 13 wounded. Tal was taken by helicopter to Soroka and then to Beilinson where he underwent six surgeries. He lost his left eye and has shrapnel wounds in his leg and left hand. He spent three months in in-facility rehabilitation and now goes daily for rehab.

 

Ron.jpgRon

20 years old • Kibbutz Gesher

Ron was a commander in the Armored Corps. He was with a tank force that entered the Gaza area of Sg’aih to rescue wounded soldiers and reinforce the IDF forces there, which they accomplished. He went back with a combat engineer force to Deir Al Balah to find weap­ons tunnels. They completed this, and on July 3, 2014 began to return to the Israel border when they were hit by a mortar shell. Five soldiers were killed, ten were wounded, two very seriously, one of them Ron. Amongst other things, he lost his left leg. He was lifted by helicopter to Tel Hashomer for surgery. He received a prosthesis and can now walk with its help.

 

Noam.jpgNoam

26 years old • Kiryat Ata

Noam was a Captain in the Duvdivan Unit. His battalion went to the Khirbet Hazaa area to capture the stronghold of the main Hamas terrorist battalion in the Rafah area. They fought for six days during which they found tun­nels and weapons. They then received intelligence about a tunnel that reached all the way to the Israel border. They entered it with a D9 and the terrorists hit it with a rocket. The commander was seriously injured and one soldier was killed. At 2:00 that afternoon, July 28, 2014, a tough battle began lasting for hours. Noam’s battalion killed 15 terrorists. A team entered to evacuate the wounded but ran into a trap. As they were exiting, Noam was hit in the leg. He was evacuated to Soroka Medical Center and after several operations, was moved to Tel Hashomer for rehabilitation. He still undergoes rehab which are expected to last for some time.

 

Dor.jpgDor

20 years old • Beersheba

Dor served in the Givati unit. On July 24, 2014, his battalion entered Beit Hanoun to search for weapons tunnels and hous­es where Hamas terrorists were hiding. During a raid on one house, Dor was hit in the leg by a sniper bullet. He was evacu­ated to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon and from there to rehabilitation in Tel Hashomer. He has had three surgeries and will need more. He is presently in rehabilitation.

 

Mordechai.jpgMordechai

22 years old • Itamar

Mordechai was in his last week of army service and visiting home. The Gaza War changed everything. He was called back to service because his specialty is vital. He was in a combat engineer unit and drove the D9 heavy tractors that straight­ened the area so IDF forces could enter Gaza. While waiting for orders to enter, they gathered for a briefing in a field near Kerem Shalom on the border. Suddenly a Roketa missile was fired at the area and exploded. Mordechai, who was the first casualty of the Gaza con­flict, was seriously injured with shrapnel penetrating his brain, and severe injuries to his jaw and both hands. He was evacuated by helicopter to Soroka and from there to Tel Hashomer. He has had six surgeries and remains in rehabilitation.

 

Muli.jpgShmuel

19 years old • Yitzhar

Shmuel AKA Muli is a paratrooper from Yitzhar. On July 21, 2014, his team went on a mission to detect terrorists in Khan Younis. They were met with a hail of bullets and hand grenades. Twelve soldiers were wounded, one of them Shmuel, one was killed. Evacuating Shmuel to safety was dangerous. He was carried by foot, from soldier to soldier, till they reached a stretcher, then, from there, to a jeep that took him to the border where he was helicoptered out to Beilinson Hospi­tal in Petach Tikva. The evacuation took three hours under conflict conditions. Shmuel has two bullet wounds and hand grenade fragments in his leg. He has undergone three surgeries and had platinum inserted into his leg in place of bone. He is undergoing ortho­pedic rehabilitation in Tel Hashomer Hospital. 

For Our Wounded Soldiers: Swiss Chocolate, IPads, and Visits from Abroad…

Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP) continues all of its work in Israel unabated. We are at the front lines, in the hospitals, in the bomb shelters, and in the homes of the families sitting shiva for their sons lost in battle in Gaza. 

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Families and groups from around the world are coming to Israel, despite the present danger, and joining us on these visits to personally express their love, respect, and gratitude to the soldiers, their families, and all of Israel. 

A family from Colombia arrived in the morning and volunteered to go to the hospitals to visit the soldiers. They were met by Rabbi Yossi Swerdlow in the CTVP Situation Room where they packed leather-bound Tehillim, donated by the Roeber Leather Company of Israel, with IPads which were to be taken to the soldiers. 

Many soldiers are facing long and painful hospitalizations and rehabilitation and the Tehillim provide strength for the soul, while the IPads enable them to keep in touch with family and friends easily so they do not feel isolated. 

IMG-20140803-WA0035.jpgOur group was joined by Rabbi Sholom Schmerling of Chabad of Venice and North Port and his brother Yechiel of New York. They are members of the Schmerling family, owners of the world-famous Schmerling Chocolate Company. They brought delicious Swiss chocolates for the soldiers. 

The soldiers were so deeply grateful for the Tehillim, the IPads and the chocolate and so appreciative of the people from abroad who have come to Israel specifically to bring them encouragement and strength. 

Rabbi Menachem Kutner accompanied Rabbi Swerdlov and the groups to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center where they were met by Rabbi Mendy Beckerman, the local shaliach. 

As they went from the bedsides of one soldier after another, one of them told them that he had no Tefillin. When he was evacuated to the hospital, they were left behind in Gaza.  He was immediately given a new pair of Tefillin, donated by Bais Lubavitch of Paris. 

IMG-20140803-WA0011.jpgFrom there the group to bomb shelters in Be’er Sheva to visit the children. They brought games, treats, entertainment and the magic of their caring for the children and adults which brings so much strength to those who live in fear with constant sirens and rockets. 

Then they visited Soroka Hospital where they were met by Shaliach Rabbi Zalman Gorelik who accompanied them on their visits to the wounded soldiers there. 

BarMitzvahIpad.jpgAt noon on the same day, a Bar Mitzvah boy and his family from New Jersey joined CTVP, Rabbi Kutner, and Shaliach Rabbi Levi Gopin, at Tel Hashomer Medical Center where they brought IPads for the wounded soldiers there. The Bar Mitzvah boy was doing this in honor of his special day. He wanted to share it with the heroes of Israel. 

The day ended with a visit to Yishuv Metar where the group met Shaliach Rabbi Schneur Kurtz. They went to visit two families whose sons had been lost in the battles in Gaza. They sat with the bereaved families, offering their condolences and telling them how much the entire Jewish world is behind them and praying for them. It was a very emotional time for the families who deeply appreciated the visits.  

iPads for Wounded Soldiers

Today CTVP distributed iPads to wounded IDF soldiers who were so grateful and appreciative to receive them.

Rabbi David Eliezrie of Congregation Beth Meir HaCohen of North Orange County, California organized a campaign to raise money for the iPads. The response he received showed the level of concern and love everyone in the States has for these great heroes of Israel.  

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Rabbi Eliezrie joined with CTVP and Professor Yehuda Adler, Chairman of the Sheba/Tel Hashomer Hospital, to deliver the iPads.

The soldiers and their families were so happy to receive them. They will enable them to stay in touch with family and friends, as well as use other programs to help them through what in some cases is going to be long and painful hospitalizations and rehabilitation. 

A mother of one of the wounded soldiers expressed her feelings to Rabbi Eliezrie and to Yossi Swerdlov of CTVP, ”On behalf of my son, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart – for your kindness, your warmth, your gifts and your love. G-d bless all the soldiers. They should be home soon. Thank you.”

This is just one of the many activities CTVP participated in that day. Our staff and volunteers were fanned out across the country, as we have been every day since the conflict began, going to bomb shelters to bring toys, treats and activities to the children to take their minds of their fear and anxiety.

We have been on the front lines bringing soldiers packages of food, warm socks and undergarments, shampoo, deodorant and other essentials to keep them as comfortable as possible.  As well, we are enabling them to lay tefillin which, they tell us, brings them great comfort as they face battle.

And, sadly, we are with the families of the soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for Israel and the Jewish People.

To help purchase more iPads for additional wounded soldiers or to help us in our ongoing activities, please visit www.ctvp.org  

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CTVP Goes to Wounded Soldiers in Hospitals Across Israel

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Chabad Terror Victims Project and Chabad Emissaries throughout Israel are visiting wounded soldiers in hospitals throughout the country. Our goal is to attend to the specific, unique needs of each individual soldier, and their families, in order to eliminate as much suffering both physical and emotional as possible.

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(Above) A soldier gratefully accepts a laptop computer brought to him by CTVP that will become his lifeline of communication through the longs months of recovery and rehabilitation he faces ahead.

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As we have visited with soldiers at hospitals like Hadassah Ein Kerem, some have told us that their tefillin were left behind in Gaza in the rush of the medical evacuation. Others have said their tefillin were burned by explosives and gunfire.

So we are bringing new tefillin to the soldiers who have lost theirs, as well as gift packages containing a Sefer Chitas, headphones to listen to music, and treats. And we sit with them, listening and comforting as they recount the trauma of their experiences in Gaza.

These great heroes of Israel who are putting their lives on the line for Israel and the Jewish People deserve everything we can bring to them – physically, spiritually and emotionally and that is what CTVP is doing. 

CTVP Launches 'Write to an IDF Soldier' Campaign

CTVP has begun a campaign for soldiers to receive letters from the people across the world expressing their support, their gratitude, and their love for our heroes of Israel.

Here is a letter that went recently:

Dear Soldier,

letter.jpgI am a high school student… The war you are fighting in the Holy Land has grabbed my full attention. I am standing behind you and believe in what you are fighting for. You are fighting for Israel, my home, and a safe haven for Jews and any others wishing to practice religion peacefully all over the world.

I thank you from the deepest place in my heart for putting yourself in harm's way for the fight against any enemy of freedom. You are my hero. I am praying for immediate peace and success in all of your missions. May G d bring salvation to all those in need and peace to the Land of Israel.

Thank you for your dedication to Israel. Love…

Click Here to Write a Letter to an Israeli Soldier

30,000 Gather at Jerusalem Funeral of ‘Lone Soldier’ from U.S.

 Golani Sgt. Max Steinberg, 24, of Encico, Calif., is laid to rest. CTVP Representatives Were There Giving Moral Support

Relatives and friends mourning at the funeral of Max Steinberg, a Golani brigade sharpshooter. Thousands came to his funeral on Mt Herzl, in Jerusalem, on July 23, 2014. 

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More than 30,000 mourners from all parts of Israel gathered at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning to pay their last respects to “lone soldier” Max Steinberg of Encino, Calif.

A U.S. citizen who volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces, Steinberg was killed last Saturday when a Hamas anti-tank rocket struck his armored personnel carrier, killing him and 12 other soldiers from the Golani brigade.

Mourners joined the Steinberg family—his parents, Stuart and Evie Steinberg; his brother Jake; and his sister Paige—who flew in from Encino, Calif.

 Relatives and friends mourning at the funeral of Max Steinberg, a Golani brigade sharpshooter. Thousands came to his funeral on Mt Herzl, in Jerusalem, on July 23, 2014. (Photo: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Steinberg joined the IDF after participating in a 10-day Birthright trip to Israel with his brother and sister in June 2012. His father told the Los Angeles Daily News that Max had such a positive experience that he returned back to Israel a few months later to live there indefinitely.

When Max became a volunteer in the IDF, he intentionally pursued the Golani brigade—combat troops on the front lines of battle, his father said. When he was initially told his Hebrew was not good enough to qualify, he took time off to immerse himself in the language because he couldn’t imagine doing anything else in the IDF, according to his friends.

“The guys who are willing to go down that road have made some kind of personal choice,” said Stuart Steinberg. “The consequences were horrible. Not in our wildest imagination did we expect this was going to be our experience, but it’s the price of war.”

A Facebook page created to draw participants to the funeral in support of Steinberg and his family read: “Max Steinberg (may his memory be a blessing) died al-Kiddush Hashem (for the sanctification of G‑d’s name) in Gaza sacrificing his life to defend Israel. Max was a lone soldier from Los Angeles. Let’s make sure his extended family here in Israel is there to say goodbye to him and honor his life.”

On Monday, some 20,000 mourners gathered at the funeral in Haifa of Sean Carmeli, a native of Texas, after a similar campaign was launched on Facebook.

 

 

Working Nonstop to Support Civilians and Soldiers

Chabad Terror Victims Project offer entertainment for kids, and for troops, care packages and more

Chabad.org Staff   |   July 11, 2014 3:28 PM

Children in Sderot, close to the Gazan border and showered by rocket attacks, clutch activity bags handed out by representatives of the Chabad Victims Terror Project. (Photo: Meir Alfasi)Children in Sderot, close to the Gazan border and showered by rocket attacks, clutch activity bags handed out by representatives of the Chabad Victims Terror Project. (Photo: Meir Alfasi)

Shabbat has fallen in Israel after days and nights of relentless rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza, but up until the last minute beforehand, Chabadrepresentatives throughout Israel were working to bolster civilians and soldiers in Israel.

Over the past several days, those attacks have intensified, sending Israelis into bomb shelters at all hours and causing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare “Operation Protective Edge.” On Thursday, Israel massed troops at the border with Gaza and warned 100,000 Gazans in the area to evacuate immediately.

In synagogues and community centers, Chabad Houses, private homes and on social media—people have been discussing and dedicating themselves to different ways of helping, both spiritually and materially. Along those lines, Jews all around the globe are adding mitzvah observance in merit of the safety of the Jews in the Holy Land. 

As the sages say, in times of trouble, it is important to increase Jewish commitment to prayer and mitzvot.

Over the course of the week, volunteers with the Chabad Terror Victims Project traveled to highly affected areas in the south and north, trying to help in ways they could and staying optimistic about the situation.

“We have been working nonstop,” said Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov, a representative of the Chabad Terror Victims Project, to boost morale and take people’s minds off current stressors.

Earlier this week, CTVP implemented a three-pronged emergency initiative that includes (1) organizing buses to take children to the center of Israel, out of the range of the rockets and able to have a respite from their anxiety; (2) coordinating with all of centers in the region to organize activities and visits to bomb shelters to support families; and (3) keeping up a steady stream of volunteers going to the front lines to boost the morale of the soldiers, as well as give them spiritual and physical nourishment. 

Rabbi Asher Pizem of Chabad of Sderot talks to children stuck inside all day because of the situation. Seated in front of him is Rabbi Prus of Kfar Chabad, Israel, and to Pizem's right, with the orange balloon hat, is CTVP staffer Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov. (Photo: Meir Alfasi)

Following a notification that the center of Israel is no longer considered a safe destination, the decision was made to stop busing children there—and instead, the carnival games and performers were taken south to bring much-needed diversion children near their homes.

So on Thursday, a group of rabbis and CTVP volunteers went to hard-hit Sderot in the south with entertainers for the children, including clowns and balloon makers. They also brought them games and treats, offering them a respite from what’s happening.

Chabad Rabbi Chaim Nochum Cunin, visiting from Chabad West Coast Headquarters in Los Angeles, prays with a soldier. (Photo: Meir Alfasi)

“We do what we can to bring happiness,” said Swerdlov.

Joining Swerdlov and Rabbi Aharon Prus of Tzerei Agudat Chabad Headquarters Israel in Kfar Chabad, Israel, and Rabbi Chaim Nochum Cunin, visiting from Chabad West Coast Headquarters in Los Angeles, were Rabbi Moshe Pizem and his son, Rabbi Asher Pizem, both of Chabad of Sderot, Israel. They all shared in keeping the kids busy.

Working to Boost Morale

The group also went to visit soldiers on the front lines and at bases. They wrapped tefillinwith many of them standing beside tanks and army paraphernalia, and recited prayers for their safety. CTVP representatives also offered soldiers care packages, including food and toiletries, and spent time just talking with the men and reassuring them.

 

The rabbis brought pizzas to Israeli Defence Force reservists with certain dietary restrictions beyond the kosher standards of the army. (Photo: Meir Alfasi)

The rabbis also went out and bought pizzas to a group of reservists who follow special dietary laws above the standard kashrut of the army.

Cunin recounted one particular soldier’s response to the Chabad visitors: “We sit here like it’s [the mournful day of] Tisha B’Av, and then you come along and it’s like [the joyous holiday of] Simchas Torah.”

The rabbis all reiterated what the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—said about the Jewish nation: “Regarding Israel, the Torah states that it is a ‘land upon which G‑d has His eyes at all times.’ ”

Many Chabad communities are holding “lend an arm for Israel” campaigns—urging men and boys to don tefillin, a mitzvah the sages say strikes terror in the heart of her enemies.

 

Cunin wraps tefillin with an Israeli soldier surrounding by tanks and other military equipment. (Photo: Meir Alfasi)

In 1967, prior to the outbreak the Six-Day War, the Rebbe introduced what was to be the first of the 10 “mitzvah campaigns” (“mivtzaim”)—the campaign to don tefillin with all Jews.

Mirroring the Rebbe’s call, Chabad emissaries are redoubling their efforts to encourage their community members to share the mitzvah with people who may not lay tefillin on a daily basis.

And everywhere, women and girls are encouraged to light Shabbat candles.

Chabad.org has offered a list of practical action to assist Israelis, as well as some inspiration from the Rebbe here “What Can I Do to Help Our Brothers and Sisters in Israel?”

 

Swerdlov, left, and Prus aboard tanks to assist soldiers wrapping tefillin. (Photo: Meir Alfasi) 

 Photo Credits: Meir Alfasi

 

 

Family Asks for Prayers for Kidnapped Soldier

Friday, August 1/Erev Shabbos 5th Av/9:30 am Israel Time

Just one and a half hours after the start of the humanitarian truce, a Hamas suicide bomber emerged from a tunnel near Rafiach and blew himself up near soldiers in that area. HadarGoldin.jpg

In the ensuing chaos Givati Brigade 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin of Kfar Saba was kidnapped. Two other soldiers were killed.

A large infantry force including Special Forces is moving into the area going house to house to find Hadar. 

Our hearts and our prayers are with Hadar, the soldiers searching for him, his family, all the IDF soldiers, and all of Israel.

Please pray for Hadar ben Chedva Leah. May he come home safe and secure.

HadarPrayer.jpg 

As far away from Burgas as possible

Terror victims taken on vacation in New York on behalf of Chabad Terror Victims Project. For 10 days, Daniel Fahima got away from treatments after Burgas terrorist attack, thoughts about his two best friends killed

Daniel Fahima Published: 05.13.13, 20:40 http://www.ynetnews.com/ Israel News

There is nothing more difficult than the routine. Ten months have passed since the terrorist attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, and every day is a new battle. I still suffer from pain and I know it won't be easier soon, but at least for 10 days I managed to get away from treatments, memories and routine. 

We travelled to New York as part of the Chabad Terror Victims Project. Ten people who were injured, helping each other. Together with me were Captain Ziv Shilon, critically wounded less than a year ago on the border with Gaza; Nati Hachkur, injured from missile prior to Operation Cast Lead ; Ziv Yitzhaki, injured in Second Lebanon War; Noam Nakash, injured fromQassam rocket four and half years ago; Andre Peck, injured in terrorist attack over 10 years ago; Yechiel Tzanany, injured a year ago from rocket on the border with Gaza; Border Guard Albert Sabah, injured in terrorist attack two years ago; and Dror Zicherman, critically injured in 2005 in terrorist attack near West Bank city of Tulkarem. 

Identify and understand

During the 10 days in New York, I was mostly moved by the community's sympathy. When I told them my story, I could see the pain on their faces, together with great sympathy, and how much they appreciate us. They called us "Israel's finest". They are people with a very big heart, and they took us to the most luxurious places and spared nothing. 


Group members in Times Square (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)

They gave us a warm welcoming reception and plenty of food. Every day we had breakfast at a restaurant or at a community host's house. They took us flying above New York and all sorts of special places. One day we were taken to meet Amish people, who live without any technology whatsoever. Even though it may seem magical, you cannot envy them. They live in the past.

We were also taken to a Yankees baseball game. The game itself is somewhat boring, but just being at Yankee Stadium – a true temple for Americans – is an emotional experience. On Saturday night we performed Havdalah in Times Square, the center of the world, which was very emotional for me as a believing man. I always believed there is a God, and thanks to the fact I was saved, that belief has become stronger. However I don't think I'll become more religious, it is not my nature.

In one of the dinners, with another 500 participants from the Jewish, each one of us told his story: How he was injured, what happened to him and what he has been going through since. For me it was very powerful to listen to the other stories. It let me feel I am not alone, and that others have gone through similar experiences, even though every story is completely different and unique. Of course, powerful connections were made with the others. These are people I went to sleep with at night, woke up with in the morning, and spent 24 hours a day with. All of their stories moved me.

I also told my story in that event. I still remember everything, every moment. In July last year I flew with two childhood friends, Elior Priess and Maor Harush, to a dream vacation in Burgas, Bulgaria. Elior, Maor and three other Israelis were killed. I was severely wounded. I lost an eye and fought for my life. I was anaesthetized for two months, and only recently I went back home to Akko.

Remember every minute

There are many who are injured and don't remember a thing, only what they have been told. I personally remember everything, and images still come back to me sometimes. It is not something that could disappear in such a short period of time. I remember how one of my friends joined the trip in the very last minute, and there was another friend who was very fortunate and did not join us in the end.

After we landed we picked up our luggage, went outside and looked for ways to get to our hotel, and then we approached the bus. The last sentence I remember one of my friends saying to me is: "Take the bag, we'll be right back." Then I remember the fire and smoke, the ringing in my ears, and how I was dragged from the burning bus. I closed my eyed and prayed for it all to end. Afterwards I somehow got my strength back and thought about my family and friends who are waiting for me. I started screaming. A few minutes afterwards I tried walking – and then the second explosion occurred.


'Always thinking about them, even in New York' (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)

The first thing I asked when I got up was where are they? Where are my childhood friends? Not a moment goes by that I don't think about them, even in New York. Why am I alive and they aren't. I would switch places with them right now, and I still can't believe my friends are not here with me. 

Today I am still in rehabilitation. I do physiotherapy, go through all the treatments. There are still breakdowns here and there. I try to be as strong as I can and keep a warm connection with my belated friends' families. I feel we help each other. Right now I am fully focused on rehabilitation. It is my only goal, and the final aim is to go back to how I was before, and to be able to do everything I could before the injury. The things that help me get stronger and help me to move on are the things I also had before the attack – supportive family, girlfriend, friends and music – I have recently gone back to the DJ stand and everyone is helping and supporting me.

It is important for me to give my thanks to everyone who received us, the Jewish community, Chabad, and everyone who helped them. And to anyone who helps those who have gone through difficult times to have a moment of joy.

 

Heroes of Israel Enjoying NYC

 Heroes of Israel Enjoying NYC

Photos by Bentzi Sasson

Photos by Bentzi Sasson

Video by Moishy Lew


At a time when the United States is still reeling from the Boston terror attack, this past Shabbat one thousand Jews gathered to show support and admiration for ten severely wounded Israeli soldiers and victims of terror.

The soldiers were brought to New York for an all-expenses-paid trip where they experienced ten days of fun, pleasure and inspiration. The trip was arranged by Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side, directed by Rabbi Uriel and Shevy Vigler, in cooperation with the Chabad Terror Victims Program of Israel, directed by Rabbis Menachem Kutner and Yossi Swerdlov.

Friday night, 500 community members attended a magnificently catered Shabbat meal, and heard the soldiers’ heart-wrenching yet miraculous and inspiring stories.

Andre Peck, one of the soldiers, shared his story. Andre was one of the border guards who rushed to the scene of the December 2001 bus attack en route from Bnei Brak to Emmanuel. Palestinian terrorists had planted roadside bombs, and as the unarmored bus drove past two massive explosions caused major damage to the vehicle. The bus continued to drive several hundred meters until it broke down. Immediately the terrorists approached the bus, throwing live grenades and shooting firearms into the crowd of passengers trying to flee.

Andre raced to the scene and began to fire at the terrorists. Despite taking a bullet himself, he continued to pursue the enemy and killed four terrorists. Ten civilians were killed in the attack, and dozens were wounded. Andre was hit in the spine five times and paralyzed from the waist down. He received the highest medal of honor from the IDF.

When Andre finished his account, everyone joined in a spirited dance while singing “Am Yisrael Chai,” and “Moshiach, Moshiach, Moshiach.”

The packed Shabbat morning service was led by Cantor Ari Kleinand the Neshama Acapella Group. Many of the soldiers were given an aliyah, and spontaneous hakafot broke out after each one. 

The group went on Friday to the Ohel where they were able to pour out their heart and daven for a speedy recovery. On Sunday they all got a motorcycle with a rider and went on a tour in the Bear mountain area.

Even though the soldiers were treated to 10 days of fun they all agreed that the love and support they have received from the people of the Chabad Israel Center community is the most incredible part of their trip, and a vital component to their rehabilitation. 






















































































































 

 

Ten Severely Wounded IDF Soldiers get Uplifted in NY Trip

 Ten Severely Wounded IDF Soldiers get Uplifted in NY Trip 

Photos by Bentzi Sasson

Photos by Bentzi Sasson

One of the 10 severely wounded Israeli soldiers on a Chabad-sponsored trip to New York admitted that he was "high."

By COLlive reporter
Photos by Bentzi Sasson


Captain Ziv Shilon, a platoon commander in Givati Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, was severely injured 6 months ago when a roadside bomb planted by Hamas terrorists exploded during a routine patrol. Doctors had to amputate one of his arms and the other is totally crushed. 

Shilon and 9 other severely wounded soldiers and victims of terror are in New York for 10 days of therapy and fun on a trip sponsored by Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side, under Rabbi Urieland Shevy Vigler.

The project is called "Belev Echad" (with one heart) and regularly organizes trouble and worry-free trips to the United States for severely wounded IDF soldiers and victims of terror.

Speaking this week at a welcome reception honoring 10 severely wounded IDF soldiers at the Chabad Israel Center, Shilon said: "My greatest wish is to be able to return to the IDF and to continue protecting Am Yisrael."


The soldiers are accompanied by Rabbi Menachem Kutner and Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov of Chabad Terror Victims Project who deal with these soldiers year round in Israel .

Joining them at the reception was the Israel's military attache in the U.S., Major General Yaacov Ayish who cancelled his appointments in Washington so that he can spend time with these brave heroes.

Addressing them were Rabbi Benzion Krasnianski of the Chabad of the Upper East Side and Israel's Consul General in New Yprk Ido Aharoni.

Nati Hatzkor, who had his leg blown off from a missile right before Operation Cast Lead, mentioned this week that words cannot describe the pain and agony that he experiences on a daily basis. 

He has to medicated marijuana for his pain and he joked and said, "I don't know if I am on a high from the marijuana or from this incredible Belev Echad trip. However every day he forces himself to smile and be happy because if there is one day that he is sad and upset that day is a victory for the terrorists who did this to him."


















































































































 

Israeli Victims of Terror Enjoy their first day in United States

 

Israeli Victims of Terror Arrive in United States

Wounded Israeli veterans and victims of terror enjoy the view from the Empire State Building on their first full day of a New York tour coordinated by the Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side and the Chabad Terror Victims Project.
Wounded Israeli veterans and victims of terror enjoy the view from the Empire State Building on their first full day of a New York tour coordinated by the Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side and the Chabad Terror Victims Project.

Adi Huja was in the beginning of her teenage years when her whole life changed. She was out with friends on a Saturday night when suicide bombers detonate their devices and a car full of explosives into the crowd. She survived, but suffered injuries to both legs and ears that have required years of recovery and ongoing operations.

Chani Avramov, meanwhile, was serving in Israel’s Border Police, working to capture terrorists attempting to enter the country, when 29 bullets riddled her army jeep, striking her in the leg and jaw. She fell to the ground as the driver sped up to flee the attack. It took three attempts to resuscitate her, and barely survived.

The pair and eight other veterans and victims of terror attacks landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport Sunday, arriving to an emotional reception coordinated by the Belev Echad program, a joint effort by the Chabad-Lubavitch Israel Center of the Upper East Side and the Chabad Terror Victims Project that brings Israel’s wounded to the United States for a relaxing trip and a chance to inspire Jewish communities.

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Chabad Centers
  Chabad Terror Victims Project
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For their first full day in New York, the group of women – a first for the program, which in past years has brought groups of men – enjoyed a helicopter ride over the city, as well as stops at the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

“We are delighted to be honoring 10 of Israel’s heroines,” said Rabbi Uriel Vigler, director of the Chabad Israel Center. “If we can help even one of these brave souls forget her troubles for a moment and see hope in her future, we will have done our job.”

Liora Kutner, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary who is representing the Chabad Terror Victims Project on the trip, agreed.

This is Belev Echad’s first all-women trip.

“To see young girls whose lives have been shattered mentally and physically, who endure challenges on a daily basis, is simply beyond words,” she said. “When they come to New York City and forget about their troubles and pain, have the time of their lives and receive unconditional love from Jews in the U.S. – this is the greatest present that Chabad can give them.”

In all, there’s 10 days of inspiration and VIP sight-seeing in store for them, packed with shows, other famous New York sites, and chances to connect with community members who want to hear their stories and publicly recognize these young women’s sacrifices. They’ll spend Tuesday shopping at Jersey Gardens Mall, followed by a young professional’s bowling event, visit Macy’s and take a Midtown tour on Wednesday, attend a reception with New York business leaders and take in a Broadway show Thursday, and then head to a spa and Central Park on Friday.

They’ll spend the Sabbath with the community and on Sunday, take a day trip to West Point on motorbikes.

Their time here should be enjoyable, and the community’s message, clear and simple, said Chabad Israel Center member Louis Dubin. “What we want [them] to get out of it is to feel the love and support they have from our community. They’re not alone; there are Jews all over the world that love and support them in every way: That’s really what we’re all about.”

 

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