Injured Soldiers Helping Injured Soldiers

Who We Are

Brothers for Life is a non-profit organization, created and run by injured Israeli veterans, which gives critical and immediate help to other injured Israeli combat veterans who sacrificed their lives for the safety of the Jewish people.

Our Story

During a May 2006 visit to the United States, Gil Ganonyan, an officer from the IDF’s elite Duvdevan unit met Rabbi Chaim, a leader in the Jewish community of Seattle. The two men instantly bonded. When the Second Lebanon War broke out in Lebanon. Rabbi Chaim and four other Jewish leaders joined Gil in Israel to deliver aid to Israelis whose lives were being devastated.

Together they provided “boots on the ground” assistance. They distributed funds to frightened families living in bomb shelters, and they visited the bedsides of scores of severely injured soldiers who had been rushed from the Lebanese border to Haifa’s Rambam hospital. Gil went from bed to bed, comforting these young men, many of whom were fighting desperately for their lives. He knew their pain intimately—it had been barely two years since Gil himself had been nearly fatally shot through the neck by a Hamas terrorist in Bethlehem. He told the soldiers his gripping story of survival, and offered them hope in what was likely the darkest moment of their lives. The immediate trust between Gil and these brave warriors was palpable, and Rabbi Chaim watched as their hopelessness was transformed into hope. On the battlefield of recovery, Gil was a fellow soldier who had returned to help them in the same way that many of them had dragged their own fallen brethren to safety. And Gil gave them what they needed most to heal—the conviction that they mattered.

Could Rabbi Chaim and Gil bring this newfound hope to even more wounded soldiers? Both men believed so. Together they shared a fierce desire to aid the soldiers who sacrificed their health, spirit, and futures for the sake of Israel and Jewish people throughout the world. And they believed there were other injured soldiers who would be willing to help them. They had no choice but to try.

In May 2007, the foundation was officially formed. Its ten founders had each been wounded in the uprising and during the Second Lebanese War. They left for Seattle, far from their homes, but an appropriate place to prepare for the work ahead. There they met with Rabbi Chaim and participated in an affirmational, mindset-changing program he had developed. The delegation caught Rabbi Chaim’s passion, and left with a fierce desire to fully regain their lives, and to help others do the same.

Following the delegation’s return home, Gil and Yaniv Leidner, another combat veteran, continued seeking out men who had sacrificed their bodies and souls for their country. They contacted dozens of newly wounded soldiers, and helped each take the first set steps towards a more complete recovery. Each individual that they helped added to their deepening understanding of what recovering soldiers need—physically, emotionally, educationally, and financially.

In June 2008, Brothers for Life (Achim L’Chaim) was officially registered as a non-profit organization. The initial model of veterans helping other wounded soldiers has now expanded to every program in Brothers for Life, with recovered soldiers making significant differences in each other’s lives. Our members come from Eilat to the Golan Heights, and from every walk of life and observance. They’re bonded by their shared injuries, their desire to heal, and their passion to help other injured soldiers like themselves. Day by day our members are transforming trauma and restoring life.

Our mission is to empower injured combat soldiers to help recently injured combat soldiers reclaim their lives, fulfill their dreams, and continue to serve and inspire the Jewish nation.

What We Do

From the moment an IDF soldier is injured our BFL hospital visitation teams deploy to the hospital to connect our soldier to BFL, assess their immediate needs, and begin the mentoring process.

We provide critical medical support to soldiers who are severely wounded and chronically suffering, including second-opinion consults, cutting-edge medical devices, and surgeries with leading US physicians and surgeons.

We inspire thousands of young Jewish students around the world with the ethical values of injured IDF soldiers who are now committed to helping their fellow soldiers.
We provide comprehensive financial support, including direct financial aid, financial counseling, and a free loan fund.
We provide educational scholarships, vocational training, internships, and job placement.

We provide over 25 different soldier-run programs with a specific focus on PTSD counseling and mentoring.

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