On Monday, the Jewish people suffered a terrible blow. Twenty-one precious sons fell in Gaza—such a great loss. One of our soldiers who was killed, Elkana Vizel A”H, was 35 years old, married to Galit, and a father to four beautiful children. Elkana wrote a letter that was found on his body after he was killed in battle. I bear testimony that Elkana’s letter carries within it not only the attitude of every IDF soldier I have met since October 7th, but the spirit of Am Yisrael itself.
“If you are reading these words, something probably happened to me. First of all, in case I was captured by Hamas, I demand that no deal be made to release any terrorist in order to release me. Our overwhelming victory is more important than anything, so please press ahead with all the force until our victory is as overwhelming as possible. Maybe I fell in battle. When a soldier falls in battle, it is sad, but I ask you to be happy. Don’t be sad when you part from me. Sing a lot, plant in hearts, hold each other’s hands, and strengthen one another. We have so much to be excited and happy about – we are the generation of Jewish redemption! We are writing the most meaningful moments in the history of our people and of the whole world. So please be optimistic. Keep choosing life all the time – a life of love, hope, purity, and optimism.”
We have debt that cannot be repaid to Elkana and every soldier who gives their life to protect Am Yisrael. Each one of us must feel that they gave their lives for us because they did. Elkana said goodbye with these words. “Keep choosing life all the time- a life of love, hope, purity, and optimism.” Elkana, I don’t know if you will read this in Gan Eden, but we will do everything in our power to follow your words. We will sing a lot, hold each other’s hands, and strengthen each other. We keep choosing a life of love, hope, and purity, and in this, your spirit will live forever.
NEW BFL TEAM MEMBER – ORI PELED
Our team in Israel is expanding to absorb the many hundreds of newly injured BFL members and expand our services. I’m excited to welcome one of our new team members, who actually fought on October 7th, Ori Peled.
Ori grew up on a kibbutz and spent his formative years working the land. Due in part to his athleticism, Ori was recruited to Yamas, the famous “Fauda” unit. In May of 2022, just 19 months ago, Ori was badly injured when a bomb exploded under his legs. Like so many of our soldiers, two BFL members visited him in the hospital and shared the same message soldiers are hearing every day during this war, “We were injured just like you, and we are here to help you get your life back and reclaim your dreams.” Ori had one dream, to run again. After months of intense rehabilitation, Ori put on his running shoes again for the first time and did what he loved most – he ran!
On October 7th, Ori was in bed when he heard Israel was under attack. Without hesitation, Ori grabbed his only weapon, his pistol, and drove down to the south with his two teammates. As they got closer to the battle, they saw the destruction and casualties on the road and understood it was already a war. Without hesitation, they reached an IDF unit, took the weapons from our own fallen soldiers, and began to fight back the terrorists. This went on for more than a week, and Ori is one of the hundreds of heroic Israelis who ran to save lives on October 7th.
Ori will join our team as a BFL ambassador, representing BFL to communities worldwide. In addition, Ori is part of our Hospital Visitation team of mentors. We are proud to have Ori as part of our BFL family.
Lastly, this week, we concluded our first post-10/7 delegation with the incredible Jewish community of Miami. Our Miami families opened their hearts and homes to young soldiers who were injured only a few months ago. It was simply life-changing, and we are forever grateful to all of you.