Report From the Hospital

Rabbi Menachem Kutner of the Chabad Terror Victims Project meets with one of the injured following Wednesday’s bus stop bombing in Jerusalem.

On Wednesday March 23, 2011, a terrorist bomb exploded next to Egged bus number 74 in Jerusalem, leaving behind a trail of death and injury.

Within hours, our Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP) staff and volunteers were already at hospitals throughout the city, at the bedsides of the bombing victims.

Below is a first hand report from the hospital from Rabbi Menachem Kutner, director of CTVP.  

I went to Hadassah Hospital at Ein Kerem. Unfortunately I’m used to hospital rooms, but the scene in this one broke my heart.

I walked in to see a teenage boy lying pale and unconscious. Hehad been standing on the sidewalk next to the bus when the bomb went off and he has a severe head injury.

At his bedside were his parents, distraught and weeping with fright.

I spoke to them for a long time. I reassured them I would be back shortly and that CTVP would be there to help them through this ordeal.

What they didn’t tell me, I was soon to learn from the hospital social worker who called me on my cell phone moments after I left their room.

“Please,” she said, “you’ve got to help them immediately, right now, it can’t wait.”

She said the family lives outside Beit Shemesh, which is several bus rides from Jerusalem. The father, whose background is limited, is only able to find low-paying jobs. He’d just lost his most recent job because his employer went out of business.

And there are four small children at home.

She told me the parents are terrified. Not only was their son severely injured, but they had already been struggling just to keep food on the table. The father was searching for a new job but hadn’t found one yet.

Can you imagine, at this moment of crisis, with their son lying unconscious in the hospital, they had to worry about who would take care of their other children, and how they would pay for food and for the bus fares back and forth to the hospital.

I rushed back to their room and gave the father money to cover the week’s expenses for food and carfare. I told him we would send CTVP volunteers to their home immediately to help care for the children who were being watched by a neighbor.

And I told him this was only the beginning and that…“You are not alone. You will not have to face this by yourselves.”

I explained that CTVP would be with his family from now on, for as long as they need us, whether it’s a month, a year, or longer.  We will be there for them with financial, emotional, and practical support, whatever is needed.

The father looked at me and burst into tears of gratitude.

This is what Chabad Terror Victims Project is all about. We are the central address for short and long-term care and assistance for victims of terror and war in Israel.

What makes CTVP so unique is that we have the resources of 270 Chabad Houses all across Israel behind us. And each Chabad House has not only a dedicated staff, but also a corps of trained, committed volunteers who are ready to help at a moment’s notice.

Which means that whenever and wherever an act of violence like thistakes place, we will be there. And we will stay with the families for as long as they need us, no matter how long that may be.

We provide these families with a broad array of help that includes financial support; practical help like babysitting, grocery shopping, and doctor visits; hospital and rehabilitation center visits; holiday and Shabbat programming and so much more. 

Today Israel is struggling with a sudden increase in violent terror attacks, with increased rocket attacks from Gaza (rockets recently hit Ashdod, Beer Sheva and Yavneh just south of Tel Aviv), and with neighboring countries that have become more volatile and unstable than ever.

Israel needs us now. And we need you to help us care for and support the families shattered by terror and war. Because it is, and always has been, caring people like you who make it possible for CTVP to carry out ourmission of compassion and care.

Please take a moment to make a special emergency gift to Chabad Terror Victims Project today so that we can for all those families in Israel whose lives have been shattered by terror and war. Thank you.

Rabbi Menachem Kutner