Arutz Sheva interviews CTVP

Monday, 31 May, 2021 - 11:16 am

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Rabbi Moshe Gruenberg, Director of Chabad Terror Victims Project, talks about the organization's work assisting victims of Hamas rocket attacks.

For over 50 years, the Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP) has been assisting and comforting Jewish families during times of conflict in Israel. The organization was started by the Lubavitcher Rebbe after the Yom Kippur War.

“Because of all the young soldiers who were falling, most of them were young husbands, and there were many orphans and widows, the Lubavitcher Rebbe started an organization that Chabad emissaries and widows of other soldiers that have fallen will comfort the families of the dead,” said Rabbi Moshe Gruenberg Director of CTVP), in an exclusive interview with Arutz Sheva.

Today, the help that CTVP gives involves many different ways of assistance.

“There are many different way of assistance. Both spiritual and physical material assistance,” said Gruenberg. “We help them in every sense with bar mitzvahs, conducting weddings, britot – whatever they need. And also financial means. We’re there for them throughout the year. We’re in touch with them throughout the year. At least once or twice a year we visit each one of the families throughout the country.”

During Operation Guardian of the Walls they were out in the field. They visited Ashkelon and Eshkol, Ashdod and Be'er Sheva. “We were there when the sirens were going off. We visited the bomb shelters in Ashkelon.”

They met a family at the Ashkelon Barzilai Medical Center. The father was “severely injured by a direct rocket at the home. When we met him he was crying, he had tears in his eyes. He told us my son’s having a bar mitzvah in two weeks. We’re thinking twice about conducting the bar mitzvah. We told them there’s no way, you have to do the bar mitzvah. We’ll take it upon ourself to do this bar mitzvah.”

Otherwise, the boy would be traumatized by not having his bar mitzvah, and it would be a win for Hamas. They “took it upon themselves to take care of (the bar mitzvah).”

They sent them shopping to get clothing. They hope the father will be able to leave the hospital and be part of “this amazing bar mitzvah. It’s going to be a real miracle.”

They also plan on taking him once he’s out of the hospital to the Kotel for a “thanksgiving party.”

Gruenberg said that it’s hard to understand what the people hit by rockets go through unless you visit them or are there during the attacks.

“It dawned on us what these people go through, a rain of rockets, over 1,000 rockets hit Ashkelon, 1,500 rockets hit Eshkol. The kids are traumatized.

And it’s been going on for 21 years.”

How can the worldwide Jewish community help those traumatized by rocket fire in Israel? There are 400 Chabad Centers in Israel with over 1,000 emissaries. “Each and every one of the Chabad Centers is actually a bridge, Chabad of Israel acts as a bridge to worldwide Jewry, the Diaspora. And the emissaries around the world ask ‘What can we do to help? Our community wants to help.'”

For instance, the Jewish community in Durban, South Africa sent special presents for the kids of Ashkelon. There was also money to help buy cheesecakes, and to send candy packages to families.

“It gives them a fulfilment that they feel they’ve here with us. We’re standing together as one large family,” he said.

With Operation Guardian of the Walls, everyone was trying to imagine what a “victory picture” would look like. “As we sit here there’s not just one picture. There’s thousands of pictures. And these are all those stories of the bar mitzvah, the wedding, all these people that we helped and assisted, these are the victory pictures. That we stand together, the Jewish community as a whole outside the country, stands together with the Jewish community in Israel.”

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