Who We Are
Since the founding of the State of Israel, hundreds of thousands of young Jewish men and women have risked their lives and limbs to protect the Jewish people and ensure the security of the Jewish Homeland. Many of these soldiers sustain physical injuries and even more are left with emotional scars that can be equally debilitating.
Founded in 2009 by Rabbi Uriel Vigler and his wife Shevy, Belev Echad began as an annual tour of New York City, as a gesture of solidarity and support for wounded warriors of the IDF. What started off as a local initiative of the New York Upper East Side Jewish community has now become a global movement, dedicated to helping veterans of the IDF reintegrate into civilian life with the love and support they need to thrive.
We are now an essential part of healing, growing beyond just a vibrant community to a close-knit family. Together, we celebrate birthdays, marriages and births, provide resources and support through the big decisions, and show up when times are tough. These courageous young men and women have risked life and limb for the safety of the Jewish Homeland. Our work with these wounded veterans shows our solidarity and gratitude for their enormous sacrifice.
- Rabbi Uriel & Shevy ViglerRabbi Uriel and Shevy Vigler are the co-founders of Belev Echad. They have served together as executive directors of Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side for over a decade. With a shared life-long mission to serve veterans of the Israeli Defense Force, and help them adjust to life as functional and healthy civilians.
- Daniel S. BernsteinDaniel S. Bernstein is the owner of Alexander Wolf & Son, a general contracting firm specializing in interior renovations in New York City. Daniel has spent much of his life dedicated to causes that support the Jewish Homeland. He is an invaluable asset to Belev Echad.
- Yaara Blank-PlotkinYaara Bank-Plotkin was born and raised in Queens, New York, and received her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from New York University. She has committed herself to Belev Echad since its inception. She and her husband Gabe are proud parents of three children.
- Yossi NasserYossi Nasser was born in New York, and was raised in Israel. He is currently CEO of Gelmart International. His connection to the Jewish Homeland brought him to Belev Echad, where he dedicates his time and talents to making it the success it is. He and his wife Jennifer live in New York with their daughter.
- Philip SilvermanPhilip Silverman is a real estate investor and also manages and oversees a variety of other family investments. In addition, he serves on the Board of his family's philanthropic foundation as well as several other Jewish nonprofit organizations. He grew up in Chicago and received a degree from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
- Shay ZachShay Zach was born and raised in Israel, where he served as a Tank Commander in the Israeli Defense Force. For the last several years, he has been a managing partner at EPIC, a top NYC real estate firm. As someone who experienced the life of a soldier and successfully acclimated to civilian life, Shay is uniquely suited to providing insight and support to Belev Echad and its programming.
“We are so privileged to be in one room with heroism, with courage. We remember that we are all here because of them and their colleagues, generations of Israeli veterans and soldiers that keep us and our traditions alive. They do it for the sake of 4,000 years of Jewish life, not just in the past, but for the next 4,000 years.”
israeli ambassador to the u.s.
(speaking at a Belev Echad Event)
- Assaf HaleviAssaf is married, with a child. He has worked closely with IDF veteran causes since 2003, volunteering at Tel Hashomer Hospital in the Rehabilitation Department for IDF casualties and terror victims.
- Sharon & Miki ShtrachmanSharon and Miki are parents to Lee Shtrachman, who served on the IDF border patrol and was injured during a terrorist attack in 2015. They live in Moshav Bet Yitzchak and have 3 children. They work in real estate.
- Bentzi SassonBentzi Sasson has been with Belev Echad since its inception. He lives with his wife and 3 kids in Brooklyn New York.
- Raz BudaniRaz Budani served in the Golani brigade for 12 years as a Major. He was injured in 2009 in Operation Cast Lead. He lives in Achiezer with his wife and 3 children.