IDF Sgt. Ofir Cohen, 23, of Kfar Yonah, a combat medic in the Armored Corps, attended the Amit High School in Kfar Batya in Ra’anana. He would regularly visit nearby Beit Levinstein Rehabilitation Hospital to lift the spirits of patients, many whose families have lost hope of their ever leaving. The facilty deals with some of the most difficult cases due to the level of expertise in the hospital.
A day before the ceasefire agreement that ended Operation Protective Edge, the IDF counter-terrorism offensive against Hamas in Gaza during the summer of 2014, Cohen was gravely injured by a mortar shell. Doctors during the following weeks fought to keep him alive.
After his condition stabilized he was transferred to Beit Levinstein for rehabilitation, the same facility he visited regularly as a student. Now he is counted among the patients, requiring a long difficult road to rehabilitation. At present, he has not returned to his former mental state and he is not in touch with his surroundings.
Ironically, students from the Amit School visiting daily now seek to comfort him and show him that he is not alone. They are davening for his recovery and they put tefilin on him when they arrive. They speak with him in the hope that deep inside he can hear them and is aware of their presence.
Teachers from the school come to visit Ofir too, and they tell of his love and affection for others and how he made it his business to visit the patients at the rehab facility. School principal Rabbi Eren Strauss admits it is especially seeing Ofir in the bed, reminding him of this talmid who so much wanted to assist others and now, he is in need of assistance. Rabbi Strauss explains that giving is a major component of the education given to talmidim in the school and giving to those unable to reciprocate is all the more significant.
Mrs. Nicole Cohen, Ofir’s mother remains at his bedside regularly. She has not given up hope and only leaves his side for short periods of time when others are present with him.
Yonatan, a brother, explains the visits give a great chizuk to the family during these especially difficult days. He and his family feel a great gratitude to the school, its teachers and students for the chessed they do on a regular basis and they are confident that Ofir feels their love and concern for him and continue being mispallel for his recovery. Please daven for Ofir ben Nicole bsoch cholei Am Yisrael.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)