The soldiers of Hope for Heroism
Pictured: Rabbi Yehuda Stern of Sydenham Shul, Michael Freeman, Deputy Israeli Ambassador to South Africa and a delegation of “Hope for Heroism” Israeli soldiers.
Hope for Heroism was founded and is run by disabled Israeli officers and provides critical and immediate help to disabled Israeli combat soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the safety of the Jewish people.
The soldiers were hosted by Mark Gordon, co-ordinator of the Hope for Heroism delegations to South Africa.
Rabbi Yehuda Stern, director of Young Adults activities at the shul, welcomed the soldiers. “We named the evening ‘BeLev Echad’, which means ‘with one heart’, because that is how we all feel tonight,” he said in his opening aaddress.
Also present at the event, was Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to South Africa Michael Freeman. Who addressed the crowd and emphasised the strong connection South Africans Jews have with fellow brothers and sisters living in Israel who dedicate their lives to protect Israel and our people.
He acknowledged the strength and courage that these young men have, to overcome their injuries and challenges and to rebuild their lives. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in such a special evening,” he told them.
A video was shown of a similar meeting that took place between wounded IDF soldiers and the Lubavitcher Rebbe in New York, back in 1976. In his talk to the soldiers, the Rebbe said that in his opinion they should not be known as wounded soldiers but as metzuyanim – exceptional soldiers!
The audience had the privilege to hear from the soldiers themselves. The men shared their most compelling and traumatic tales of how they were hurt in action.
They described the healing process and how they have learned to live with their injuries and to overcome them, so that they can continue to live their lives and build their own families. There wasn’t a dry eye in the hall during their talks, as everyone felt humbled and inspired by these brave heroes of Israel.