Evening raises funds for resilience center

Evening raises funds for resilience center

From left: Larry Rein, Renee Glick, Barbara Listhaus, Gavi Harlow, Rachel Edri, Moshe Glick, Shlomo Hammer, Amit Levi, Michal Greenglick, Tal Ben Shalom, and Evyatar Edri.
From left: Larry Rein, Renee Glick, Barbara Listhaus, Gavi Harlow, Rachel Edri, Moshe Glick, Shlomo Hammer, Amit Levi, Michal Greenglick, Tal Ben Shalom, and Evyatar Edri.

More than 500 people gathered on March 17 at the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy for the “Evening of Heroes,” where they heard stories from October 7. The emotional evening was co-sponsored by the MetroWest Israel Action Committee and the Gush Etzion Foundation, in conjunction with Congregation AABJ&D, Amit LaDerech, B’nai Shalom of West Orange, Chabad of West Orange, Congregation Etz Chaim, Friendship Circle, JKHA/RKYHS, Jewish National Fund, Congregation Ohr Torah, One Israel Fund, and Synagogue of the Suburban Torah.

The speakers included Rachel Edri and her son, Evyatar. Rachel was held hostage by five Hamas terrorists; she distracted them for nearly 20 hours, until police, including her son Evy, stormed the house, saving her and her husband. Rachel’s hospitality essentially prevented the terrorists from moving to other homes.

Mordechay Shenvald, a reservist tank commander, recuperated from being hit by an anti-tank RPG missile that broke 11 of his ribs. Four friends of his, fellow officers, were killed in the attack. A gifted musician, Mordechay punctuated his story with a violin performance.

Shlomo Hammer’s family made aliyah from Teaneck when he was a teen. He served in the 551st brigade, which lost 13 soldiers while fighting in Gaza; he fought there for three months. He thanked the Gush Etzion Foundation for providing financial and emotional support to his family.

Orna and Asher Naim, the parents of Amir, who was killed defending Kibbutz Erez, told his story of heroism. Amir, who was an army officer, and three members of the security team defended the kibbutz from 40 terrorists, without help from the IDF. Amir’s wife is expecting their first child, a son, in the next few weeks.

Michal Greenglick, the sister of singer Shauli Greenglick, also spoke. Shauli, who put his singing career on hold to fight in Gaza, was killed in combat. A member of the Nahal Brigade’s 931st Battalion, he had just auditioned for Israel’s popular series, “The Next Star.”

Singer Shlomo Zichel, an IDF reservist recently returned from fighting in Gaza, conveyed his message through song. Shlomo is the grandson of Cantor Naftali Hershtik and nephew of Cantor Netanel Hershtik.

The group’s tour also included appearances at Chabad at the Shore in Long Branch and at Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan.

The Gush Etzion Foundation is using funds raised from the tour to build a resilience center, where it will provide much-needed mental health support for the returned hostages and soldiers, in addition to the children, teens, and other traumatized victims of October 7 and the ongoing war.

“Am Yisroel is grateful for your help to support their healing after October 7,” Gabi Harow, CEO of the Gush Etzion Foundation, said. “Though the people of Israel are veary resilient, the mental health needs of everyone impacted by October 7 and the ongoing war, are only beginning to rise to the surface, and we will be there to help them.” To make a donation to the Resilience Center, email Gabi Harow, CEO, Gush Etzion Foundation, at gabih@gush-etzion.org.il

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