I know for myself that many times we encounter someone in need, and quietly tell ourselves, “I really need to do something to help”. Most of the time we get busy and put it off and then life gets busy. Brothers for Life has changed that reality for us.
One of BFL’s flagship projects is a scholarship program, one which currently enables 20 BFL members to attend university and achieve excellence. As part of the program, members must meet higher education requirements as well as perform community service with Holocaust survivors or at-risk youth. In performing community service, each member may choose how and where he wants to contribute.
This year, we decided to give the program’s members the option to volunteer within our community with injured soldiers, whose severe injuries often make day to day life difficult.
One such soldier is Jonathan Levin. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because I asked all of you to pray for him when he was in critical condition during Rosh Hashanah about four years ago. Jonathan, 35, had earlier been injured as a reserve during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when a missile struck his upper body and left him with a terrible injury that has silenced him forever.
In BFL, we feel blessed that Jonathan’s family trusts us and lets us spend time with such a hero. Three members of the scholarship program have chosen to spend time with Jonathan once a week, depending on his present condition. So far, memorable times together have included taking a trip along the beach, reading stories, and attending a musical performance. Today, they took Jonathan out to do something that he had never done before- sailing on a catamaran.
Before this project, our program manager called Jonathan’s mother to determine the feasibility of Jonathan participating. Upon hearing our suggestion that Jonathan take part in the program, his mother said that many people had made several similar promises to her but nearly all had never shown up. Our brothers changed that. Today, she said to us, “The world is full of promises, but very few people actually keep theirs. Now I know that you do.”
Since Jonathan does not speak, it is impossible to get verbal feedback from him. Instead, his responses often come in the form of visible excitement and a high pulse.
It was an amazing experience for all of our brothers to give hope back to a hero.
Shabbat Shalom and good news.