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For Benji

For Benji

Benji Hillman gave his life defending the People of Israel, leaving behind his wife he married only three weeks earlier.

by The Hillman Family

It was a storybook wedding; such a fine picture they cut, the handsome young Israeli officer in slacks and a white shirt, dancing with his young beautiful bride; it could have been a movie, only it was so much better, because it was real.

The image of Benji, with his shy smile and twinkling eyes surprising his bride Ayala and serenading her to the delight of hundreds of guests, as everyone, and particularly Ayala, simply reveled in the moment, stayed with us all, long after the wedding was over. It was one of those freeze frame moments in time, to cherish forever.

And then only three weeks later, we had a chance to get together-family and friends all over again, only this time there were no invitations, no dancing, and no smiles, no twinkling eyes and no tinkling glasses. And Ayala was not beaming in a magnificent white wedding dress, she was broken and dressed in black; Israel's latest young war widow.

Benji was a son of immigrants from England who came back home to Israel. He became a Company Commander in one of the most elite commando units of the Israeli army. He didn't talk much about it; he was not a talker; he was a do-er. He died as he lived, volunteering just three weeks after his fairytale wedding to lead his young men from the front in a bitter battle in Lebanon, with the cry of every Israeli combat officer "Acharay! Follow me!" on his lips.

Benji gave his life defending the People of Israel, and in reality, every Jew and every decent citizen everywhere, so that one day we can all know real peace....

Benji had an unstinting sense of responsibility toward the soldiers under his command, particularly those in distress. Many "Chayalim Bodedim" -- lone soldiers have left their home countries in order to fulfill their beliefs in the most selfless form, by volunteering to defend the People of Israel. These young men have no family in Israel, barely speak Hebrew, cannot rent an apartment because they don't get enough income from the army, and have nowhere to go when they do get leave from base. They must seek out places to stay, figure out a way to do their laundry, grab an inexpensive meal, or take care of personal errands instead of catching up on precious sleep and receiving perhaps a little well deserved care and attention.

In addition, there are boys whose families are living far below the poverty line, who are not treated to a home-cooked meal, whose family residences are inadequate, unheated, lacking electricity or phone services. Some lone boys returning fatigued from training or warfare collapse from exhaustion on a tattered couch or a bare mattress flung in a hallway. Others hail from severely dysfunctional or abusive backgrounds -- these boys, who put their lives on the line every day for Israel's home front, cannot even risk going home for fear of physical harm.

Benji Hillman had several such boys in distress under his command, and he was acutely aware of their circumstances. During the Shiva -- the week of mourning following his death -- we were struck by the tales of so many chayalim bodedim who related Benji's tireless efforts to assist them, selflessly and caringly, quietly and without fanfare.

We hope you are able to respond to this call to help us establish an enduring legacy to the life and selfless values of Benji.

We would like to continue Benji's legacy, and help ensure that every soldier serving in defense of the Jewish people has a place to go home, even if his family is thousands of miles away or just unable to take care of him.

We, the family and friends, have established a charitable endeavor -- Keren Benji Hillman, the Benji Hillman Foundation.

Keren Benji Hillman's goal is to provide these boys with general and financial assistance, a warm bed, good food, a room of their own away from the army, and of course all the love, care, attention and help that they need at "Habayit Shel Benji" (Benji's Home).

If you are looking for a way to help Israel in one of her most challenging hours, here is an opportunity to really make a difference to the lives of the young men who are giving up so much for all of us; here is a chance to give a little back.

We hope you are able to respond to this call to help us establish an enduring legacy to the life and selfless values of Benji.

In order to enable us to create, build and run this foundation for the first number of years, we are seeking to raise the initial $1M USD from family and friends. The future of the Foundation will be financed by periodical fundraising events, Private Charities, NPOs and Governmental grants. A financial plan will be made available upon request.

We ask you to consider what donation you are able to make in order to ensure that the young men who put their lives on the line for us, know and feel that we care about them-now and always. Not all of us are built for the front line. All of us can show we care.

Benji would have read this and done something about it immediately, we hope you do too.

With love and our deepest thanks and appreciation for all your support, it really makes a difference to us all.

The family and friends of Benji Hillman, hy"d, may his name be blessed forever.

TO DONATE:

In Israel and other Countries other than UK and US donations* may be forwarded to :

"Keren Benji Hillman – Mercaz Khilati Torani Bnei Adat Yisrael"
Hahayil 7/7 Raanana,

or made by direct bank transfer to:
Bank Mizrahi , Branch 423 , account 520957
Keren Benji Hillman, Mercaz Khilati Torani Bnei Adat Yisrael.

In the UK: donations* may be forwarded to:
"The Benji Hillman Charitable Foundation"
23 Wykeham Rd,
London NW4 2TB

or made by direct bank transfer to:
"The Benji Hillman Charitable Foundation"
NatWest Account number 82063354 sort code 601034.

In the US: Our friends at Jerusalem Fellowships are helping us by collecting all contributions from the US. They are not taking a commission of any kind and are helping us as they are behind the project 100%.

The following is their information and all banking information:

Jerusalem Fellowships Inc. - accepts contributions and issues tax receipts that are deductible as charitable donations - 501c3.
Tax ID # 13-3740640

Address: Jerusalem Fellowships,
28 Park Avenue,
Airmont, NY 10952

Wiring instructions:
Citibank, NA,
330 Madison Avenue , NYC
Account name: Jerusalem Fellowships, account number 371 829 79.
The ABA # 021000089.

Please indicate (on check or wire) that this is for "The Benji Hillman Foundation".

* Important: Following a donation we would ask you to email or fax your personal and contribution details to info@benjihillman.org or +972-9-7466669 for bookkeeping purposes. Please mention if you need a tax receipt/country. All details will be kept completely confidential.

Keren Benji Hillman is a charitable endeavor devoted to social welfare projects in Israel. Funds will only be channeled as such.

Published: August 26, 2006


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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) ilana, July 3, 2007 4:13 PM

his family

Today on the 3rd of july benji's brother shimon came into our school to talk to us about it my best friend found it so emotional that she was in tears all morning as she used to live in israel and has many realtions

(4) MicheleBarchichat, August 28, 2006 12:00 AM

My deepest sympathy

May God be with you and those Benji left behind. Rest assured that he is with God in Gan Eden. My heart goes out to you and all who suffered such loss.

(3) Anonymous, August 28, 2006 12:00 AM

baruch Dayan ha'emes

haMakom yenachem etchem betoch sh'ar aveilei tzion ve'yerushalayim

(2) RobvanDijk, August 28, 2006 12:00 AM

Left without words ...

(1) rbrodsky, August 27, 2006 12:00 AM

A brave young man

It is heartbreaking to hear about the loss of such a wonderful person that died "al kiddush hashem". He touched so many people with his chesed. May his new wife and his family be comforted among the mourners of Jerusalem.

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