Israel’s Wounded Women Warriors Coming to NYC 
The group of all-women are welcomed to the United States to relax and enjoy by the Chabad Israel Center and the Chabad Terror Victims Project. (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)

By Karen Schwartz

Apr 29, 2012 2:15 PM

Craig Nassi is looking forward to spending next week with a very special group of visitors. Nassi, who lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, will be helping host a group of injured Israeli veterans and victims of terror touring the East Coast on a trip organized by the Chabad-Lubavitch Israel Center of the Upper East Side and the Chabad Terror Victims Project.

Members of the Chabad House, including Nassi, will join together with the broader Jewish community during the trip, which begins May 6 and includes 10 days of events.

“They’re young, courageous people and I’m looking forward to spending time with them,” he said. “I’m really excited.”

The visitors – for the first time in the trip’s three-year history, a group of all-women – are coming to the United States to relax and enjoy in the company of people who wholeheartedly support them. It’s a community-supported project under the leadership of Rabbi Uriel and Shevy Vigler, who annually help rally funds for the tour, which has been tailored to match their interests. This year’s trip will take the women to Madam Tussauds Wax Museum, the Empire State Building, Holocaust Museum, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

They’ll also enjoy a full day of shopping and bowl with the Chabad House’s young professionals group in an event with an expected crowd of 500. They’ll see the Midtown sights and take a helicopter ride over the city, take in area Jewish landmarks, and be treated to a spa visit and Broadway show, as well as motorcycle rides on bikes specially equipped for handicapped access.

Having participated in the event in years past, Nassi said he knows the visit will have a huge impact on everyone the visitors meet, and also enhance people’s appreciation for Israel and the sacrifices of its soldiers and citizens.

“People around the world appreciate what they’ve done,” he said.

Vigler is revving up efforts to give the guests the time of their lives, and also wants to spread a message of respect and encouragement for women and their contributions to not only the community but also the Israel Defense Force’s various facets.

While they’re here, said the rabbi, they’ll eat in the best kosher restaurants in town, attend VIP events and also share a four-course Sabbath dinner with the community, part of the Chabad House’s with to express its gratitude to the soldiers.

“What the trip does for these soldiers is it takes them for 10 days out of their suffering, out of their pain,” he said. “It gives them hope.”

Louis Dubin, a Chabad board member, said it’s actually very basic, in terms of helping area Jews understand more about their guests and their challenges, and the soldiers understand the community’s commitment to Israel’s security.

It’s something the community can share with its youth as well, added Dubin. “It’s a very nice thing, to teach our children about the sacrifices that a lot of young Israelis make to go and serve and defend the country.

“It provides a lot of joy to many people, including the soldiers and victims of terror that come,” he explained of the trip. “It’s wonderful to be able to give like this and invite these brave young people over to hear their stories, have a meal, and go to mutual events and entertainment.”