Delegations Led by U.S. Rabbis Visit Terror Victims in Israel
Accompanied by CTVP staff, they spend time with those wounded in recent attacks and their families
By Chabad.org Staff | October 23, 2015 9:41 AM
|At Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem are Rabbi Peretz Chein, left, executive director of the Chabad House at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., who came with a local delegation to visit Israeli terror victims and their families. To his right are Rabbi Menachem Kutner, director of the Chabad Terror Victims Project; Rabbi Yisroel Naftalin, the hospital's Chabad emissary; and Brandeis student Tzvi Miller, far right, with his brother, Netzach, who lives in Israel.
Israel is once again the hotbed of terrorist attacks, and it’s become an uneasy time for some people to visit the Holy Land. But for Rabbi Sholom Raichik, director of Chabad of Upper Montgomery County in Gaithersburg, Md., and Rabbi Peretz Chein, executive director of the Chabad House at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., now is the right time.
Working with representatives of the Chabad Terror Victims Project, both brought delegations from abroad to comfort victims of terror and demonstrate solidarity with the Israeli people.
Raichik’s delegation spent 36 hours in Israel. The group came straight from the airport outside of Tel Aviv to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva to visit those who had been wounded in the Oct. 18 attack at the central bus station there, in which a 19-year-old Israeli Defense Forces soldier, Cpl. Omri Levi of Sdei Hemed, was shot and killed.
They also went to the grave of Alon Govberg, who was killed last week in a bus attack in theJerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv. Reported Raichik: “He has no family in Israel to visit his grave. We went today and had aminyan to say Tehillim and Kaddish, marking the end of the shiva [mourning] period.”
Hope and Encouragement
According to victims and their families, the visits brought hope and encouragement to their profoundly changed lives.
“People were most appreciative of our coming to Israel just to visit with them, to give thanks in the name of our community to the soldiers who are on the front lines, and to give support and comfort to the injured and their families,” said Bernie Schack, who toured the country with Rabbi Raichik. “We made an effort to go where the need was, not necessarily where it was easiest.”
Chein, right, writes messages of love and hope in the Chitat book (Chumash, Tehillim and Tanya) given to a wounded soldier. His hand was severely injured, prohibiting his return to serve his country.
Also accompanied by CTVP, Rabbi Chein brought a delegation from Brandeis University, with students on campus volunteering to publicize the trip and raise money for it. The group carried with them a school banner that also listed the names of students at Brandeis who stand in solidarity with Israel.
On their second day there, they went to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem to spend time in the hospital with attack victims and their families. The recovering ranged from an elderly man who had been stabbed near his brain and an Israeli soldier who was wounded by a terrorist to a family whose son lay in a coma and an elderly woman whose husband of many decades had been shot and stabbed; he, too, was in a coma.
Each stop along their way—as they sat and listened to harrowing story after story—they made it a point to sing inspiring songs, lifting spirits as best they could.
“So many people have been moved,” reflected Brandeis student Tzvi Miller, who traveled to Israel with the rabbi. “What I took away is how what happens here affects everyone. The people here know we came. We visited people about whom we read in the newspapers, and now they are here in the hospital.”
Rabbis Kutner, Chein and Naftalin, along with Brandeis student Miller, stand outside the room where a terrorist is currently being treated, just a few rooms away from where the people he attempted to murder are being cared for. Pictured with them is the soldier guarding the room.
Continued Calls for Mitzvahs, Torah Study and Prayer
In addition to prayers for the wounded, there were also calls by rabbinic leaders around the world for increases in Torah study, prayer and other mitzvahs, in addition to donning tefillin. For suggestions of what Jewish people around the world can do to help their brethren in Israel, read the article 7 Things You Can Do for Israel Today here.
The tefillin campaign comes in light of instructions given by the Rebbe, RabbiMenachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, who had issued a similar call during other dangerous times in Israel. Before the outbreak of the June 1967 war, for example, the Rebbe prompted an active campaign for Jewish males over the age of 13 to perform the mitzvah of tefillin.
Wrapping tefillin is part of the Rebbe’s 10 mitzvah campaigns introduced between the years of 1967 and 1976, which formed the platform upon which the Rebbe’s far-reaching program to revitalize Jewish life and observance throughout the world was built.
The laying of tefillin instills fear in the enemy, explain the sages of the Talmud, quoting: “Then all the peoples of the earth will see that the name of the Lord is called upon you, and they will fear you.” (Deuteronomy 28:10).
Chein, Kutner and Miller, along with Rabbi Ahronchik Prus, right, of the Chabad Youth Organization, visit soldiers guarding the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, where several terrorist attacks have taken place over the course of the month.
New List of Injured is Released
As attacks continued, the Chabad Terror Victims Project (ctvp.org) released an updated list of those injured in recent terrorist attacks.
The public is asked to continue their prayers for their speedy and complete recovery. It is customary for petitions for recovery to be recited in synagogue on the Sabbath and on other days when the Torah is read in public.
Here is a list as of Friday, Oct. 23. Names will be added and deleted as they become available.
To assist wounded Israelis and the work of CTVP, which provides financial, emotional and practical support to those suffering from terror, see:http://www.ctvp.org/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/1126571/jewish/Donate.htm.
For more news, opinion, inspiration, advice and first-person articles on the October 2015 Wave of Terror in Israel, visit the special Chabad.org section here.
Rabbi Sholom Raichik, right, director of Chabad of Upper Montgomery County in Gaithersburg, Md.,and community member Bernard Schack bring gifts for Israeli soldiers in Be’er Sheva, where a deadly attack occurred last week at the central bus station.
Raichik and Schack also deliver tefillin to male soldiers.
The Raichik group at the grave of Alon Govberg, who was killed in a bus attack one week ago and has no family in Israel. The men organized a minyan at his grave site to say Tehillim and Kaddish, making the end of the shiva (mourning) period.
Raichik helps a border policeman in Be’er Sheva don tefillin.
Saying prayers for the injured, as Jewish people everywhere can do to help.