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True Stories of .Hope for Heroism

The Hope for Heroism story
The story that is NOT told about the war in Gaza is the story of how the Jewish army, the army of Israel, deliberately risked the lives and safety of its Jewish soldiers, to try to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians. The concept of “purity of arms,” the responsibility a soldier has to civilians when using weapons, is drummed into every Israeli soldier. It is based on Jewish values affirming the sanctity of life. We’ve been doing it for years, and huge personal costs.

Unfortunately, Palestinian fighters have no such value system. They and their leaders put no value on Jewish civilian lives (as seen by their relentless acts of terror), no value on their own fighters lives (as seen by suicide bombers), and no value on their own civilians’ lives (as seen by their using schools, hospitals, homes, etc. as places to set up rocket launching sites)

The cost of upholding our values is tremendous, and a big part is the toll it takes on the soldiers, especially those who are wounded protecting the lives of people who would just as soon see the soldiers dead. After the battle, the stress and mental agony of the soldiers, and especially the wounded soldiers, is horrific. These soldiers, who set an example for every soldier everywhere, are our HEROS. And those who are wounded in battle are the greatest heros of all, because they live forever with a part of themselves missing—an arm, a leg, and eye, etc., as a constant reminder that they put their values before their safety.

We have an obligation to these soldiers. You can help by learning about “Hope for Heroism” and getting involved, and PASSING THIS EMAIL ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW.

“Hope for Heroism” is a very simple concept, created by Gili Ganonyan and Yaniv Leidner, both wounded veterans of the Israeli Army Duvdevan unit. (They are being assisted in the U.S. by Rabbi Chaim Levine out of Seattle, who runs www.livingjudaism.com.) I've cut and pasted some of the info from the site below. You probably have not heard of it because it is a young program.

I like this program because it brings to life classic Jewish texts about value of human life,” tzelem elokim“ and “mitzvah goreret mitzvah”, in a compelling, easy to understand, and heartfelt fashion. Simply put, “Hope for Heroism” takes young wounded soldiers in Israel, and trains them to help newly wounded young Israeli soldiers adjust to their new status in life, deal with PTSD, and adjust to civilian life as a wounded veteran. Many of these soldiers were wounded because Israel has a policy, unlike other nations, of not just going in and randomly blowing up enemy targets, but trying to minimize civilian casualties by doing house to operations instead of sending in a bomb. In other words, some of these men were wounded because they tried to protect the lives of people who wish we were dead, because that is part of our covenantal relationship with G-d.—irrespective of what sort of head covering you wear, if you wear one at all.

Here's the cut and paste from the website:

Hope for Heroism has one mission: To help recently disabled/injured soldiers put their lives back together from the moment they are injured until they return to everyday life in Israel. The model of "injured soldiers helping other injured soldiers" has given us both the leverage and trust to help young Israeli's who are suffering daily at a completely different level. These are some of the most selfless and talented young men in the country and they are the future of the State of Israel. Many of them are officers from elite units and as they continue to improve, they will go on to be the diplomats and entrepreneurs that Israel needs.
Dear Friends,
We are honored to share with you this brief update of Hope for Heroism. Hope for Heroism has one mission: To help recently disabled/injured soldiers put their lives back together from the moment they are injured until they return to everyday life in Israel. The model of "injured soldiers helping other injured soldiers" has given us both the leverage and trust to help young Israeli's who are suffering daily at a completely different level. These are some of the most selfless and talented young men in the country and they are the future of the State of Israel. Many of them are officers from elite units and as they continue to improve, they will go on to be the diplomats and entrepreneurs that Israel needs.
Below are some of the highlights of the past 10 months. What you don't see below is the amount of dedication and work that our team has put into creating and executing an operational system that allows us both mobilize effectively when a soldier is injured, as well as continue of necessary follow up as the wounded soldier continues to progress. The fact that Gili, and Yaniv were officers in Duvdevan running the most delicate and complex missions in some of the most dangerous places and have themselves each become wounded or disabled gives them the operational experience, credibility, and understanding to literally help a young soldier who is suffering mentally and physically find his life again.
Hope for Heroism
Their job description includes:
a. Going to meet freshly wounded soldiers in the hospital and sharing with them the resources of HfH.
b. Ongoing mentoring, putting soldiers together with existing resources in Israel.
c. Assessing if there are critical medical/financial needs that are not being covered by any other resource and providing these essential resources.
d. Introducing the wounded soldier to a community of other disabled soldiers who are facing the same challenges.
e. Helping guide wounded soldiers to live in a state of mind that allows them to face their new lifestyle and return to their lives.
f. Setting up "profiles" for each of the over 78 disabled soldiers that we are currently working with.


One injured soldier having his birthday in the hospital
Other HFH Achievements:
• Currently working with over 78 individual injured/disabled soldiers beyond our goal of 65 soldiers for year one. (By year two our goal is to have the capacity to help every soldier injured that year- around 140 year over the past seven years.)
• Made allocations of financial/legal/medical aid to 38 different soldiers. Some of the financial help includes putting food on the table for them and their families, or special tutoring to help return to university. (A full report of all allocations will be made at the end of the year)
• Set up a working relationship with special platoon in the Israel army to facilitate our ability to gain entry to soldiers as there are injured and being brought to hospitals around Israel.
• Hosted numerous events and weekends for over 120 injured soldiers.
• Provided individual and group counseling for over 25 soldiers suffering severely from PTSD
• Created a special volunteer network to respond to soldiers in "crisis"
The only way to truly get a sense of the level of impact Hope for Heroism is having is to meet our injured soldiers and see what is happening to them. It's nothing short of incredible. To be able to give back to young Israeli's who have chosen to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Israel and other Jews is the greatest of honors for us.
Thank you for making this possible.
Chaim Levine
1120 Lake Washington BLVD South
Seattle, 98144

Example of Disabled Soldier Profile
Name: Dovid N.
Date of Birth: February 11, 1983
Address: 512 HaPalmach Street, Jerusalem
Cell Phone:
Army Unit: Paratroopers, Special Unit
Injury: Bullet wounds to face and leg. One Bullet entered his face and exited the jaw leaving partial paralysis in face. Injured in Lebanon during the beginning of war in firefight and was helicoptered to Rambam Hospital.
Disability Rating from Government: 92%
Needs: Dovid is a Russian immigrant who lives with his only relative in Israel, his mother. They needs special sunglasses for his face, help getting a drivers license, and help with PTSD.
Help Provided to Date: Dovid is being mentored by Gili Ganonyan. He has received a pair of special sunglasses as well as groceries from the fund ($600 from fund). He attended the weekend retreat in late November.
The only way to truly get a sense of the level of impact Hope for Heroism is having is to meet our injured soldiers and see what is happening to them. It's nothing short of incredible. To be able to give back to young Israeli's who have chosen to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Israel and other Jews is the greatest of honors for us.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:

If you are willing to help financially—
Hope for Heroism
1120 Lake Washington Blvd South
Seattle, WA 98144
It’s a 501-c-3.
If you want to do it by credit card, I’ve opened my www.lamedvuvnik.org website to HfH, and will cover the cost of the credit card processing myself. Just go to “True Stories” and look for Hope for Heroism.

If you want to meet with the guys in Israel, contact Chaim at chaim@livingjudaism.com

If you are affiliated with an institution that might host the group for an event—contact Chaim. I costs about $3,000 per soldier, and does them a world of good. You can see a video about their Seattle trip at http://www.livingjudaism.com/event_detail.php?id=68




 

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