Printed from ctvp.org

Holidays

For families who have lost a loved one to terror or war, or those who have a family member who has been seriously injured, holidays can be a very painful time when they keenly feel the loss and grief.

CTVP provides financial assistance to these families so they can purchase the special foods which are a vital part of the celebration of the various holidays. As well, CTVP ensures that all these families have the special items they need to celebrate the holiday. From Shmura Matzah for pesach, or even honey for Rosh Hashna.

Families are invited to the homes of volunteers for the holidays and large public celebrations are also held by CTVP around Israel so no one is left out.

A Chanukah Miracle in 2014

Ohad.jpg

Dozens of Israel Defense Forces soldiers, wounded in this summer’s Gaza War, remain in rehabilitation Sheba/Tel Hashomer Hospital today. 

With the theme of “The Light will Win!” bringing promise and hope to all, Chabad’s Terror Victims Project (CTVP.ORG) visited these wounded soldiers on the second night of Chanukah. 

CTVP has been with these soldiers and their families from the time they were wounded and continues to be with them as they go through the difficult and painful process of rehabilitation.  We monitor their progress and provide assistance of all kinds – financial, emotional and practical – for both the soldiers and their families, and will do so for as long as they need us. 

On this Chanukah night, the soldiers, their families, and Chabad’s Terror Victims Project staff and volunteers gathered in the Rehabilitation Department of the hospital. 

At a moving ceremony, the group, led by Rabbis Menachem Kutner and Yossi Swerdlov of CTVP, kindled the Chanukah candles together symbolizing the miracles and wonders that our ancestors experienced in long-ago days.  And symbolizing the miracle of the survival of these courageous soldiers and the hope for full healing for all of them. 

All of the stories of these soldiers are miracles in their own right. But one story in particular stood out that evening, as a miracle took place in the view of everyone present. 

Ohad was critically injured during the war. CTVP had gone to his bedside right after his admission to Soroka Hospital, learning from his family of the severity of his condition. Ohad lay unconscious from a traumatic head injury. 

Since we first met Ohad and his family last summer, he has miraculously regained consciousness. He was transferred to Tel Hashomer for rehabilitation.  With great effort, he is learning the alphabet and slowly learning to speak again. His first words were Mom and Dad, but so far that was all he was able to say. 

Ohad was invited to light the menorah with Rabbi Kutner. Rabbi Kutner said the blessings and Ohad held the candle with his left hand which was functional (he is pictured in the wheelchair). 

Then, suddenly, the room went quiet as Ohad slowly began to mouth the words to “Haneirot Halalu” and “Maoz Tzur” along with Rabbi Kutner. The familiar tunes that he had learned during his childhood created a miracle before the eyes of everyone. 

His parents ran up to him and showered him with hugs and kisses mixed with tears of joy. There was not a dry eye in the room as everyone acknowledged this great miracle and expressed thanksgiving to G-d. Everyone is asked to please continue to pray for the ongoing recovery of Ohad ben Erica and all the brave IDF soldiers who have sacrificed so much to protect our precious homeland of Israel for all of us. 

During the party, CTVP Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov and his son Avremah, together with the Chabad Shaliach  to Sheba/Tel Hashomer Hospital, Rabbi Levi Gopin, gave each wounded soldier and all the patients in the Rehabilitation Department, a personal gift pack that included a Chanukah menorah.  Rabbi Hagai Levi, a Chabad Shaliach to the Diamond District nearby, also participated in the ceremony, and gave his blessings to the wounded. 

It was an extraordinary evening that will be remembered for years to come by everyone there as the Chanukah that produced its own miracle in our time. 

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Chabad lights menorah with bereaved families


Hundreds gather around giant menorah in Rishon LeZion to mark holiday with relatives of soldiers who fell in Operation Protective Edge earlier this year.

Eli Senyor ynetnews.com

 

The families of three soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge gathered Thursday with hundreds of Rishon LeZion residents and Mayor Dov Tzur around a giant Hanukkah lamp erected by the local Chabad House and the municipality. 

 

Staff Sergeant Matan Gotlib of the IDF's Maglan unit, Staff Sergeant Tal Yifrach of Golani, and Sergeant First Class Daniel Marash of the Armored Corps were killed five months ago. This was their families' first Hanukkah without them.


Beside the nine meter menorah, Shmulik Gotlib, Matan's father, and Chabad representative Rabbi Chaim Rivkin, ascended to a platform and lit the third candle together as relatives watched from below.

 

Relatives of the three soldiers at the ceremony (Photo: Chabad)
Relatives of the three soldiers at the ceremony (Photo: Chabad)

 

 

"There's no such thing as a 'happy Hannukah' for us freshly bereaved parents," said Gotlib. "How can it be happy when the most precious thing of all will not return? But an event like this, with this support and especially the feeling that the Israeli people have not forgotten our sons' sacrifice, ease the pain a little."

 

 

Noy Yifrach, the sister of Golani soldier Tal, made a blessing. Head of Chabad's Terror Victims Project, Rabbi Menachem Kutner, said that "our enemies celebrate with candy and singing the fact that they manage to commit murderous acts of terror and destroy life, but we are sending a message of light to the entire world.

 

"A bright, shining light of wonderful families who lost what was most precious to them, but will never lose their faith in the strength of the Israeli people."

‘Light Will Win’ at Jerusalem Chanukah Ceremony for Fallen Soldiers

Kutner lights the first candle on the menorah, assisted by family members. (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)

The families of five young IDF soldiers from Jerusalem who were killed this summer in the Gaza war, joined by more than 1,000 Israelis and visitors, gathered near the Jaffa Gate to the Old City on Tuesday night—for a very moving ceremony on the first night of Chanukah.

A huge Chanukah menorah was constructed in the Mamila Mall under the direction of Rabbi Eliyahu Canterman, co-director of the Chabad Center of Talbiyeh in Jerusalem. He invited the Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP) to take part in the menorah-lighting, asking to bring the families of the five IsraelDefense Forces soldiers from Jerusalem—Sgt. Dor Derei, Staff Sgt. Liel Gidoni, Staff Sgt. Moshe Malko, Capt. Dimitri Levitas and Lieut. Natan Cohen—who were killed during this summer’s war with Hamas in Gaza to be the guests of honor.

All five families came, bringing 25 people in total to the event, with its theme “Light Will Win.” More than 1,000 Israelis and visitors crowded the mall to observe the ceremony.

Canterman gave a moving d’varTorah, and Rabbi Aryeh Stern, the Ashkenazi chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, offered words of comfort, encouragement and blessing.

There were tears in the eyes of everyone present as Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov, associate director of CTVP, read the names of the five soldiers aloud and spoke to the crowd that had assembled.Canterman gave a moving d’varTorah, and Rabbi Aryeh Stern, the Ashkenazi chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, offered words of comfort, encouragement and blessing.

“We gather here tonight to remember these holy souls and to stand with the families in solidarity,” he said. “Our message to them is a message of light, warmth and love. May G‑d give the families comfort, and may their loved ones’ neshamas [souls] have a true Aliyah. We are with you and give you a big virtual hug. We want you to know that Chabad is with you, the people of Israel are with you, Am Yisrael is with you.”

Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov (Photos: Mendy Hechtman)
Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov (Photos: Mendy Hechtman)

Emphasizing the evening’s theme, CTVP director Rabbi Menachem Kutner, together with the bereaved families, lit the giantmenorah.

“The message of Chanukah is one of light. We are told that a little bit of light can push away a lot of darkness,” he said. “Tonight, we honor you with the kindling of the menorah, to help show the world that light overcomes darkness.”

The words of inspiration were followed by festive dancing led by brothers Jonathan andAaron Razel, who played Chanukah songs and brought families into circles to dance.

The evening ended with Canterman and his wife, Chana, thanking CTVP for bringing the families, and thanking the families for the honor of being able to host them. CTVP took the families and others out afterwards for a festive meal at Café Rimon on the mall.

 

Rabbi Aryeh Stern, Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Jerusalem, greets a family member who came to a Chanukah menorah-lighting ceremony in honor of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers killed in the summer war with Hamas in Gaza. Next to them is Rabbi Menachem Kutner, director of the Chabad Terror Victims Project, which invited the families. (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)
Rabbi Aryeh Stern, Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Jerusalem, greets a family member who came to a Chanukah menorah-lighting ceremony in honor of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers killed in the summer war with Hamas in Gaza. Next to them is Rabbi Menachem Kutner, director of the Chabad Terror Victims Project, which invited the families. (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)

A total of 72 families lost a loved one in the summer war, and the lighting was in all of their memories. CTVP has made it a point over the eight-day holiday to visit each city where families suffered a loss.

Staff will also spend time with many of the more than 3,000 families they are assisting who have been affected in past wars and terror attacks, bringing them comfort and strength, and lighting Chanukah candles with them.

Families of the fallen take in the candles and the theme, "Light Will Win." (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)
Families of the fallen take in the candles and the theme, "Light Will Win." (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)
More than 1,000 people observed the ceremony on the first night of Chanukah. (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)
More than 1,000 people observed the ceremony on the first night of Chanukah. (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)
The event ended with dancing in the streets. (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)
The event ended with dancing in the streets. (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)
The rejoicing, even after a somber tone to the evening, showed that “the message of Chanukah is one of light. We are told that a little bit of light can push away a lot of darkness.” (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)
The rejoicing, even after a somber tone to the evening, showed that “the message of Chanukah is one of light. We are told that a little bit of light can push away a lot of darkness.” (Photo: Mendy Hechtman)

 

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