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Events

Shabbos Aba

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This Shabbos, our hearts and thoughts will turn to remembering Daniel Tregerman, A"H. 

This beautiful four-year-old little boy was killed by mortar shells at Nahal Oz. At his funeral, his grandfather tearfully spoke of how much his little grandson loved “Shalom Aleichem” and then, in a voice cracked with pain, the grandfather slowly sang the lovely melody. 

When our CTVP staff went to comfort and assist the Tregerman family, they reiterated again how much "Shalom Aleichem" meant to Daniel. 

This week, at our own Shabbos tables, let us keep Daniel’s memory alive by dedicating our own “Shalom Aleichem” to him and to his family.

Together we will remember Daniel forever. May his memory be for a blessing. 

To print a flyer in high resolution in Hebrew please click here

To print a flyer in high reslution in English please click here

 

Letters Pour In to Israeli Soldiers, Offering Support and Pledging a Mitzvah

A CTVP / Chabad.org  campaign proves effective in getting good words and deeds out to those who need them most 

IDF troops were moved and delighted by the letters they received, along with news of mitzvot done to support them. (Photo: CTVP)IDF troops were moved and delighted by the letters they received, along with news of mitzvot done to support them. (Photo: CTVP)

By Faygie Levy   |   August 17, 2014 1:34 PM

The emails came in from around the world and in a host of languages—English, Spanish, Russian and more. Some letters were written by seniors, others by children. A few of the letters had pictures attached, others not. Most of the writers committed to doing a mitzvah, an act of goodness—be it giving charity, lighting Shabbat candles, increasing Torah study or reciting prayers.

But the letters had two things in common: their message of thanks to soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who have been risking their lives as part of “Operation Protective Edge,” and the fact that they were written by readers ofChabad.org, who signed on to Chabad.org’s Write-a-Letter/Do-a-Mitzvah campaign to help Israel during its war with Hamas in Gaza.

“As soon as the military situation in Gaza began, we knew we had to do something,” says Rabbi Mendy Kaminker, editorial coordinator of Chabad.org. “We followed the advice of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—who always said the best way to help any situation is to increase in the performance of mitzvot of every kind. 

“We thought that if people could dedicate a mitzvah and connect with a soldier, it would have a tremendously uplifting effect on both the soldier and the person taking on the mitzvah.”

After promoting the campaign on all of Chabad.org’s websites—there are eight language-specific sites—and on the websites of Chabad centers around the world, Kaminker says that “we got thousands and thousands of letters, some that included images of a person actually doing the mitzvah.”

The letters were then sent to the offices of the Chabad Youth Organization in Israel, which distributed them through its Chabad Terror Victims Project to soldiers stationed near the Gaza border. In fact, whenever CTVP volunteers or staff went to visit soldiers, they handed out letters, along with other items or surprises—be it ice-cream, New York Yankees baseball caps, or bags filled with toiletries or snacks.

Getting the Message Out

 “It was amazing for the soldiers to get these letters,” says CTVP associate director Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov, who personally handed out some of the letters (and those ball caps provided by a New York-based donor) to male and female soldiers. Noting that the letters were in different languages, Swerdlov says that he held them up and announced, “Who speaks Spanish? Who speaks Russian?”

“They were very excited that the emails were in different languages,” reports Swerdlov. “More than anything, though, they were quite surprised to be getting letters from around the world. They were just shocked; they said they couldn’t believe that people all over the world were writing to them.”

They also felt better knowing that so many people did not pay credence to the spate of negative media aimed at Israel. “It was good for them to see that not everybody feels the same,” attests Swerdlov. 

“We thought that if people could dedicate a mitzvah and connect with a soldier, it would have a tremendously uplifting effect on both the soldier and the person taking on the mitzvah.” (Photo: CTVP)

“We thought that if people could dedicate a mitzvah and connect with a soldier, it would have a tremendously uplifting effect on both the soldier and the person taking on the mitzvah.” (Photo: CTVP)

That’s a message the letter-writers wanted the soldiers to understand.

“I don’t know who you are, but I know what you stand for. I know you stand between Israel and its enemies. I know you fight not just for yourself, but for all of us who stand behind Israel,” wrote a young mother from New Mexico, who took on the mitzvah of lighting Shabbat candles. “Whether you are or are not a Jew, the fact that you are a soldier in IDF means that you fight to protect Judaism. For this, I owe you my gratitude. Thank you for protecting my homeland. Thank you for protecting your home. … ”

And an 11-year-old girl in England wrote: “Dear soldier, I support you in Israel. I decided to follow the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s advice and am going to give [tzedakah]. I really do hope the war against Gaza stops soon! Lots of people are supporting you. Good luck.” 

Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov of Chabad Terror Victims Project shares a letter with an IDF soldier. (Photo: CTVP)

Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov of Chabad Terror Victims Project shares a letter with an IDF soldier. (Photo: CTVP)

For some, though, the work that the IDF has been doing is profoundly personal. As Daiana from Buenos Aires wrote, “I have family in Israel and a sister in Beersheva. Thanks for watching [over] them, and sorry that the world is not more support[ive]. … ”

Each letter also included the writer’s email address, allowing recipients the opportunity to respond, and readers who received a reply from an IDF soldiers are encouraged to share the reply in the comments section of the page.

Even though a cease-fire is currently in effect, the letters are still arriving because, as Kaminker says, “people feel their letters and their mitzvahs are the least they can do—from wherever they are—to send their support.”

Those wishing to join in the effort can click here to participate.

For some writers, the work that the IDF has been doing is profoundly personal.(Photo: CTVP)

For some writers, the work that the IDF has been doing is profoundly personal.(Photo: CTVP)

Swerdlov and fellow CTVP staff handed out the letters, along with whatever else they were bringing that day—be it ice-cream, New York Yankees baseball caps, or bags filled with toiletries or snacks. (Photo: CTVP)

Swerdlov and fellow CTVP staff handed out the letters, along with whatever else they were bringing that day—be it ice-cream, New York Yankees baseball caps, or bags filled with toiletries or snacks. (Photo: CTVP)

 

Even though a cease-fire is currently in effect, the letters are still arriving. (Photo: CTVP)

Even though a cease-fire is currently in effect, the letters are still arriving. (Photo: CTVP)

In a Moving Ceremony, Netanyahu Pens Letter in ‘Soldiers’ Sefer Torah

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Just before attending a news conference with the international press on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu first had some important to business to take care of: writing a letter in a new Torah scroll started by Agudat Chasidei Chabad of Israel in the merit of soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces.

As he prepared to make his first public appearance since the beginning of the 72-hour cease-fire that ended Friday morning, the prime minister took part in what he called an especially moving ceremony, and said of the upcoming press conference: “There, I will do again what the Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory) told me to do decades ago—to light a small candle in the great darkness of lies that surround us.”

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Aharonov, director of the Chabad Youth Organization in Israel, invited the prime minister to hold the feather and write a letter in the first verse of the Torah. He stated that in Jewish tradition, the letters of the Torah have special protective merit.

Using a quill pen, he inscribed a letter on the parchment scroll. Letters in the Torah scroll with be dedicated to each and every soldier in the IDF—those currently in service and reservists.

“We all value our soldiers, our heroes who are fighting in this just fight to protect our citizens,” said Netanyahu.

Aharonov said “we are assured that every soldier for whom a letter has been written in this special Torah will feel a measure of security. In our tradition, the letters of the Torah are especially potent with regards to safety and security, and we felt it incumbent upon us to deploy this spiritual means of security for our troops.”

Netanyahu also revealed that on Shabbat during the ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza, that “the only time that I have a few minutes with my family, we read the weekly Torah portion at the end of our Shabbat meal together, and this gives us a lot of strength.”

Also accompanying the prime minister were Rabbi Yitzchok YehudaYaroslavsky, secretary of the Association of Chabad Rabbis in Israel; Rabbi Yisrael Halperin, shaliach to Herzliya; mayor of Kfar Chabad Rabbi Benyamin Lifshitz; and Rabbi Uriel Lemberg, general-secretary of Agudat Chasidei Chabad.

Halperin told how he served under the prime minister’s older brother, YonatanNetanyahu, who died leading the Operation Entebbe hostage-rescue mission in 1976. Halperin said how when he served, he had prepared to give Yoni tefillin, but he did not get the chance. “Now, I want to finally close the circle and give [you] the tefillin that I wanted to give Yoni.”

The premier received the tefillin with tears in his eyes.

Aharonov emphasized the importance of encouraging Jewish men everywhere to don tefillin, pointing to the “Tefillin Campaign” launched by the Rebbe before the Six-Day War in 1967, noting that: “The nations of the world will see that the name of G d is called upon you, and they will fear you.” (Deuteronomy 28:10)

 

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Iron Dome Soldiers Thank Chabad for their Help

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The commanders of the Iron Dome defense system in the near  Kfar Chabad requested a meeting with the with Chabad representatives in order to thank them for support and visits during their stay in Kfar Chabad. 

Volunteers from Kfar Chabad visited the soldiers every day, putting on Teffilin with them and bringing them food and other necessities and doing what they can to lift their spirits. 

They preseted Chabad with a plaque that reads “You gave us the will and the Koach (strengnth)  to defend the home front,” .

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