May 30, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 30, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Belev Echad Offers Heartfelt Support to IDF Veterans

As Jewish people, we are united in our love for our homeland, the State of Israel. Having just celebrated the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence it is important to remember that this milestone was not reached without sacrifice. Our brothers and sisters who fearlessly serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have protected and secured the Land of Israel since its creation. Unfortunately, many of these young soldiers sustain injuries during their service that can often be life altering.

Belev Echad, which means “one heart,” was founded in 2009 by Rabbi Uriel Vigler. Belev Echad is a global initiative that provides financial and emotional support to IDF soldiers who have been injured in terrorist attacks or during their service. While most young men and women are earning college degrees or embarking on new career paths, the men and women of the IDF are often risking their lives to safeguard the Land of Israel. Sadly, a significant number of soldiers are wounded and require long-term support. Belev Echad sends a delegation to visit injured soldiers in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, offering kindness and compassion at a very difficult time. Additionally, Belev Echad assists with financial support that covers what insurance does not, including prosthesis, experimental treatments and innovative therapies.

Many of the challenges faced come in the form of both physical and emotional handicaps. IDF soldiers are exposed to indescribable situations that can affect them long after they have completed their service. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a real condition that interferes with life on a regular basis. Belev Echad believes the emotional disabilities that afflict many soldiers are just as paralyzing as some of the physical constraints.

Belev Echad offers assistance and guidance to help these young men and women get back on their feet and create a life without limitations. Through career counseling and scholarship funds, as well as social and educational events, former soldiers gain insight into ways they can improve their quality of life and at the same time establish caring friendships. Belev Echad fosters a personal connection with former soldiers, sending gifts to celebrate personal milestones such as weddings and births.

Belev Echad’s flagship program brings wounded veterans to New York for a 10-day tour complete with accommodations, activities and social interaction, creating memories that last forever. The trip to New York offers veterans a much-needed respite and enables them to share experiences with other people from similar backgrounds. Participants are genuinely moved by the support and gratitude displayed by the Jewish community for their service. Recently, the program has added a reverse component, where alumni act as IDF tour guides of their home state, taking American tourists around Israel and sharing their experiences as former soldiers. This has been a very rewarding opportunity for both veterans and tourists alike.

Ron, a Belev Echad alumnus, reflected on his trip to New York and how it offered him a sense of renewal. “We’ve all been through things that most people don’t experience in their lifetimes. We lost our best friends, lost limbs and came close to losing our lives. When we came to New York, the center of the world, we felt something different. We felt that from here we can start our lives again.”

Marc Hershberg of Englewood is a proud advocate and supporter of Belev Echad, recently organizing and participating in Bike4BelevEchad, a fundraising bike-a-thon around New York City. “There are so many causes that I come into contact with on a regular basis, but there are so few causes that so visibly put their heart and soul into helping others the way Belev Echad does,” expressed Hershberg. “The injured Israeli soldiers aren’t only heroes, they are brothers, sisters, husbands and fathers coping with life after war and oftentimes a major health setback. When they tell us what Belev Echad has done for them and how it has changed their lives for the better it makes it all worth it.”

Our Jewish heritage fosters a profound connection to the Land of Israel and thus to those who courageously protect it. Most of us know someone, be it a relative or friend, who has served in the IDF. By supporting the programs created by Belev Echad, we too have a part in protecting the future of our homeland and its citizens. To learn more about Belev Echad please visit https://belevechad.nyc.

By Andrea Nissel

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles