Our Heroes Enjoying An Extraordinary Visit to Brazil


Exploring Sugar Loaf Mountains, taking a jeep trip along the beach at Ipanema, cheering at a soccer game at Pacaembu Stadium, experiencing adaptive surfing at Barra Beach, enjoying a safari at Parque Macuco, hiking trails with special accessibility in the Tijuca Forest, having a beautiful Shabbat dinner at Beit Chabad of Itaim ...

All of these and much more are part of an extraordinary trip that has brought Rabbi Menachem Kutner, Director of Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP) in Israel and seven wounded Israeli soldiers to Brazil for the  trip of a lifetime.

Organized by CTVP, the New Horizon Center, and Noach Adventures, and coordinated by CTVP and Rabbi Noach Gansburg, a shaliach in Brazil, the trip began on Sunday, September 18 and will last through Sunday, September 25.

IMG_2241.JPGCalled the “Our Heroes Program”,  the itinerary has been constructed to celebrate the courage and determination of these seven young men who have all suffered horrific injuries in defense of Israel and the Jewish People.

In the words of Rabbi Gansburg: “Seeing the young soldiers who defend the Land of Israel, most of them teenagers, there are no words to describe their greatness. They are dedicated and have a great sense of responsibility. They offer their lives in defense of millions of Jewish men, women and children. It is our duty, and that of Jews around the world, to proclaim from our hearts our eternal gratitude to them. To dedicate our prayers and blessings to them.”

Gal is one of the soldiers on the trip. During Operation Cast Lead, he entered Gaza with his unit to capture terrorists who were shooting Kassam missiles towards Israel. During the evening they took over a building where terrorists were holed up and captured them.

Gal and some of his buddies remained in the building overnight. During the early morning hours two missiles were shot at the building. One penetrated the room where Gal was stationed. The concrete wall next to him collapsed on him and he lost consciousness. He remained in this state for a week and a half.

He has undergone multiple surgeries to remove fragments of shrapnel from all over his body and face and still has two in his skull that will have to be removed in the future. He has paralyzed fingers and a shattered jaw that had to be wired shut for two months.

He has continual and often painful rehabilitation treatments and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, but he is courageous and cheerful and very determined to regain his strength and his life. In the hours between his rehabilitation he is studying economics and business administration with an eye toward his future work.

IMG_2084.JPGCTVP has been a great source of help and support for Gal and his family during his journey to recovery as we have been for all of the soldiers on this trip and the many others we care for.

In an interesting turn of events, when Gal was injured, his twin brother was also serving in Gaza at the same time but he was in a different area. As a result, he didn’t learn about Gal’s injuries until considerably later.

Rabbi Gansburg and Rabbi Kutner spoke movingly about how this unique and special program is sparing  no efforts to provide this group of soldiers with many moments of joy and fun. They are visiting a broad range of cultural sights and learning how Brazilians live.

Among the other places they are visiting are the falls at the National Park Cataratas do Iguacu, the Beit Yaakov School in Sao Paulo, the Hebraica Club, and more.

The photos included here provide a real feel for the trip and its many highlights and memorable moments.

Chabad Terror Victims Project, is a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to aiding and supporting victims of terror and war in Israel and their families with a broad array of financial, emotional and practical services and programs.

CTVP is there from the early moments after an act of violence takes place and remains with the family for as long as needed, whether that is a week, a month, a year, or many years.

For additional Photos, click here. Photos by Bentzi Sasson