Belev Echad (“One Heart” in Hebrew) is an organization that brings wounded Israeli Defense Force soldiers together with victims from terrorist attacks in New York City to share comradery with one another and distract their minds from the struggles they share mentally, physically, and emotionally, Israel Unwired reported.
“Founded in 2009, Belev Echad brings wounded IDF soldiers and victims of terror to New York for ten days of fun-filled sightseeing, heart-warming and joyous events with the New York Jewish community,” the organization’s website says. “The activities provide a therapy for their bodies and minds, and the bonds built with our community members turn into lasting friendships, forever uniting our hearts with theirs.”
Some of the activities include helicopter rides, tours of the Statue of Liberty and also of Ellis Island, various sporting venues, and the opportunity to witness Broadway productions. However, instead of connecting in New York City, the reunions have been in Israel other years, connecting over salads and pastas at restaurants in Tel Aviv.
“The sacrifices that these men have suffered, the bullets they stomached, the shrapnel they absorbed, the loss of limb and mobility they endured – have all been borne on our behalf,” Belev Echad’s website continues in describing its mission.” “We are all citizens of Israel. Offering our brothers an experience such as this one is one of the most gratifying actions we as a community can take.”
“Everyone who joins in, they become brothers for life,” Rabbi Uriel Vigler, Director of the Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side said. “When they bond on a Belev Echad trip or activity, they become friends forever.”
“Years later, it still affects people,” Rabbi Vigler continued. “These soldiers still feel a strong bond with our community, a strong love.”
Picture originally found here