JNF

Boca Raton Synagogue Hosts Veteran Event, Working To Prevent Suicide

Boca Raton Florida News Palm Beach County

Veterans Day Marked By Celebration Of Vital Program.

Roberto Cintron, Zev Elias, Judy Elias, Lee Lebovitch, Craig Wertheim At the Boca Raton Synagogue event. (Courtesy JNF).

BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Veterans Day was marked in Boca Raton by an event at Boca Raton Synagogue — highlighting a program aimed to stop suicide among veterans.

The Jewish National Fund worked with Heroes to Heroes Foundation and Boca Raton Synagogue to welcome more than 100 South Floridians to honor the memory of Andrew Snow. Snow was saved from suicide by Heroes to Heroes but died in 2020 due to a health condition that began during his service in Iraq, according to JNF.

“I raised a warrior. That’s one of my proudest things. He was a patriot. He was a purple heart recipient. But when he came home from the war, he was troubled; his faith was shaken,” said Art Snow, Andrew Snow’s father and a Boca Raton resident.

Art Snow, Andrew Snow’s Father. (Courtesy JNF).

The journey to healing with Heroes to Heroes takes place over the course of a year and begins with a 10-day trip to Israel where participants connect with the earth and plant trees in remembrance of fellow servicemen and women who perished during their service or from suicide, and spend time with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers — bonding by uniting with veterans in a “veteran country” half way around the world.

“There is one country, one land in the world that exudes spirituality and is a place of healing and transformation. Whatever your religion, Israel is a special place,” said Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of Boca Raton Synagogue. 

The veterans also visit sites including the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Via Dolorosa, and Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and the JNF-USA and KKL-JNF 9/11 Living Memorial in Jerusalem – the only memorial outside of the U.S. that lists the names of all who died that day. They also visit other spiritual and historical locations. While in Israel, veterans often become reconnected to their faith and experience forgiveness, peacefulness, and emotional relief.

“It’s a silent pain, a silent disease,” said Judy Isaacson Elias, Founder and President of Heroes to Heroes Foundation. “How do we get to them before it’s too late? That’s the challenge.”

Over 300 veterans have participated in the Heroes to Heroes program. Approximately 600 vetted individuals are on a waiting list to participate in the program, while another 150 applied and are awaiting evaluation to join, following the recent conflict in Afghanistan. 

 

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