As soon as word was received of the horrific terror attack that took place at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP.ORG) mobilized its staff, volunteers, and resources throughout Israel to provide comfort and assistance to the victims and their families as they returned home.
As the victims arrived in Israel by plane, CTVP immediately went to the hospitals where they were being treated, meeting with them and their families to offer comfort, support, and help. During these initial meetings, assessments were made on a case-by-case basis to provide individualized assistance programs to each family based on their needs and their situations.
For the bereaved families of those who were murdered, CTVP was at their sides to help them through this grief-filled time and to let them know they would not face these tragedies alone, that CTVP would be there to help them now and into the future as they struggled with their terrible losses.
One especially moving visit took place at the Chaim Sheba Medical Hospital. A young man, hospitalized there, had sustained multi-system wounds and severe burns during the attack.
Chabad Rabbis Aharon Prus, Menachem Kutner (CTVP Director) and Levi Gopin went together to visit him and his family. The parents requested that a special prayer be held at their son’s bedside and that he be given an extra name. He had been named after his heroic Uncle Daniel who was killed in the Yom Kippur War. Now he was to be called Chaim Daniel ben Aliza. Chaim means life and the hope of the parents and all of us is that by adding this name he will be restored to good health and life.
After the prayers, the father gently held his son’s hand, with tears and hope in his eyes. Softly he told him that they had given him this new name and that they were all praying for his recovery. He wanted his son to shake his hand to indicate that he understood. However, the son is presently under heavy sedation so he could not respond, but his father, with great faith, felt that his son could hear him and would take comfort and hope from him.
Shaliach Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Segal from Afula visited seven wounded victims and reported that all except one were discharged with relatively minor injuries, although they and their families would need support and help to overcome the trauma they had experienced
All of the victims spoke very emotionally about the Chabad Shluchim in Burgas who came to be with them immediately after the attack took place. They felt that their comfort and support were critical to their ability to cope in the first hours after the attack. And they were overjoyed to again find themselves being comforted by Chabad in Israel on their return home.
In Rishon LeZion we met Itzik whose life was forever changed with this attack. He was severely injured and his beloved wife was murdered. We were accompanied by Chabad Rabbi Moshe Gruzman and his wife who have been in close contact with the entire family and who have given weekly Torah classes at the family’s home in the past.
The tragedy this family is undergoing is unimaginable and CTVP is providing them with immediate support now and will continue to do so for as long as this bereaved family needs it, no matter how long that may be.
In the coming days, weeks, and months, CTVP will continue to be with all the families providing comfort and encouragement. We will speak at length with all of them and develop assistance plans specific to their individual needs. We will provide them with financial, emotional, spiritual, and practical help as they struggle to return to normal lives.
And we will stay with them for as long as they need us, no matter how long that is. We understand that the trauma and pain they have undergone will take time to ease and we will be with them every step of the way.
Following is a list of those who urgently need our prayers as they struggle to recover from their wounds. Please keep them in your heart and in your prayers:
Chaim Daniel ben Aliza
Natali bat Sarah
Adam ben Esther
Yael bat Shoshana
Gad ben Mazal
Rimond bat Aliyah
Panny bat Aliyah
Chana bat Aliyah
Chaim Roman ben Frima
Michael ben Yaffa
Amit bat Sarah
Gila bat Sarah
Yitzchak ben Rachel