We’re On Our Way Home!

We are completing the last leg of the extraordinary Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP) trip to Australia with ten wounded Israeli soldiers.

phpThumb.php (1).jpg

We are completing the last leg of the extraordinary Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP) trip to Australia with ten wounded Israeli soldiers.

We made a last stop in Hong Kong on the way back and when you read this, we will be back home in Israel, tired but exhilarated.

Time for a few reflections on ten days that will forever shape and color my future as well as those of our soldiers.

I always knew that soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were courageous beyond imagining. And in my work with CTVP, I have personally met many of them.

But spending ten days together with these young men opened my mind and my heart to the true extent of their bravery and the enormous resilience and determination every single one of these soldiers have. They are very young. They go into battle for Israeland for the Jewish People everywhere. And many suffer life-threatening wounds.

Yet, they come out of this with smiles on their faces, a thoroughly optimistic attitude that lets nothing get them down, and a kindness and deep sense of the vital importance of loving your fellow Jew and the world around you.

You would think they would suffer from all sorts of repercussions from what they have been through. And yes, it is true, there is post-traumatic stress syndrome, there is pain and suffering as they struggle to heal from horrific wounds.

Yet despite it all, they come out whole, able to move on with their lives, and dedicate their futures to bettering our world.

They are surely heroes in every sense of the word and Israel and the Jewish People can – and should – be so very, very proud of them.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who helped to make this extraordinary trip the awe-inspiring journey it was. First and foremost is Rabbi Barber who was the organizer and “wind behind the sails” of everything from day one of the planning through the last day in Australia. Thank you!

I also want to thank Rabbi Ben Tzion Milecki who hosted us inSydney along all the host families in Australia who so generously and lovingly opened their homes and their hearts to us, thank you.

You offered us true Hachnasas Orchim in every sense of the word and we are all the better for having gotten to know you.

I want to thank our soldiers as well – for their constant smiles.

For their courage to keep going even when pain tried to stop them.

For their deep appreciation and gratitude for everything and everyone on the trip.

And for their deep humility that constantly showed itself as they wondered at how so many people were doing so much just for them.

Thank you everyone! Chasidim Ein Mishpacha.

With best wishes,

Yossi Swerdlov


Today’s Soldiers in the Spotlight: Michael Amoyev and Matan Shamir


Michael Amoyev is 21 and comes from Beer Sheva.

He served in an elite parachutist unit during the Gaza War. His unit was in a direct shoot-out with terrorists and Michael was struck by a bullet causing severe damage. He has undergone very difficult, complex surgery.

The near proximity of the terrorists and the horror of the shoot-out, in addition to his injuries, have contributed to worse than usual post-traumatic stress syndrome for which Michael is receiving extensive treatment.

Despite all this, Michael is optimistic and has a very sunny outlook on life and on his future.

We salute Michael for his courage and we wish him a bright and successful future.

Matan Shamir is 21 years old. He was stationed at the army base at Nahal Oz which is 50 meters from the border with Gaza.

Because the base is so close, there is no early warning for incoming missile attacks. Usually the first missile is the signal that others are coming and the soldiers should head for the shelters.

While Matan was at the base, a missile fell very close to him and he was very seriously injured in his left eye. He was evacuated by ambulance to Soroka Hospital where he was operated on for five hours.

From there he was transferred to Tel Hashomer Hospital’s eye ward where he has undergone two more surgeries. He receives daily treatment and is facing another operation at the end of this trip. 

We salute Matan and his courageous fight to regain the vision in his eye and wish him all things wonderful for his future.

That’s it!!!

Thank you for sharing our journey — and whenever you are going to be in Israel, please let us know. We would love to meet you!!

 photo gallery.jpg