The initial trepidation of becoming a host family quickly dissipated when our family and Guy began texting and Skyping. The different cultures, distance and being strangers immediately were erased. By the time Guy arrived in NJ, it was like having a family member returning home. He was helping our son with his Bar Mitzvah training; our dog, Shea was cuddling with him in his bed right away. The 2 weeks wasn’t enough time to share our home and ever since Guy’s return we have become very close with his wife too. Hosting brings the Zahal Shalom experience to a whole new level of involvement that is indescribable.
As a Zahal veteran I got an amazing opportunity to participate in a delegation to New Jersey.
It was 14 days full of love, care and warm people that were just unbelievable.
All the Jewish community and especially the family that I stayed with (Curtin), gave so much of themselves and made my stay so pleasant.
I will never forget those happy days; I felt that I was living the American dream.
I learned that a lot of Jews from all over the world think about war veterans such as us. They stopped their lives for 14 days just because they wanted to give us 100% of their time.
After this delegation I have new families in N.J.
Thank you all
I am Efrat Matzliah a member of the 2013 Zahal Delegation.
It was my first time in the U.S. and I was amazed by the big open hearts and the good will of everyone.
It was a unique experience and I had the time of my life
I stayed at Robert and Stephanie Zeller’s house; they took care of me and continue to do so even now. I have a new family in New Jersey.
I became attached to everyone in this program and really felt their LOVE.
It was like in a fairy tale and I cannot thank you all enough.
Love you all so much.
Orli Levy was severely injured in a terrorist attack while serving as a soldier in the headquarters of the Southern Command in Beer Sheba. One of the terrorists opened fire with automatic weapons and explosives. Orli was seriously injured over her legs and body and had to be hospitalized for six months.
These are her comments:
“The program caused me to be born again. This experience was the first time I was able to enjoy life since my injury. The congregation embraced me; my host family showered me with warmth and love. I now have confidence that allows me to carry on my life with strength and courage. Thank you for this opportunity.”
The Zahal Shalom program has enriched our lives in so many ways. A veteran comes into our house a stranger and leaves as a friend forever. A visit to Israel now is a visit with family.
I am Ori Greenshtein, one of ten Israeli disabled war veterans who participated in “Zahal Shalom” during the Spring of 2013. I stayed with the Kiel family, whom I had never met and who immediately received me in their home as a family member.
All the Americans that I met in NJ people became part of my extended family; we are now one big Jewish family with roots both in Israel and New Jersey.
Our two week program was quite varied, we traveled for 3 days to Washington D.C, went to see a Broadway show, and explored the New York City by foot.
For me this amazing opportunity was a once in a life time adventure. I will never forget all the people that I met who made this program the real deal. You put a smile on a PTSD sad face. You made it possible for a traumatized human being who suffered from nightmares for 20 years to sleep without interruption throughout the night.
You will forever have a place in our hearts.
I am Roi Bouchnik. It has been almost 6 months since I returned from New Jersey but part of me feels as if I never left you.
The hospitality was great and warm, you all took good care of us, and we got to see and experience USA life style.
The 2 weeks we enjoyed with you reminded us that there is a big Jewish family supporting us.
I give warm thanks to my American family: Amanda, Davy and their children.
We were overjoyed to have four of the American families visit us this past summer.
I know our connection will continue because although we were with you for just 2 weeks the memory will last forever.