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Project Spotlight: Retorno

group of men sitting in a circle in the desert, talking discussion, counseling. (Photo: IFCJ)

Many combat soldiers who were discharged from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) suffer with emotional distress, and many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yet many cannot afford to seek the therapy treatments they need to better cope with their condition.

Thankfully, the Fellowship-supported Retorno program provides individual and group therapy to discharged soldiers, as well as offering animal therapy to those who would benefit from this type of treatment.

The program helps people like Yehuda, an IDF soldier who was wounded along with his entire tank crew after two terrorists attacked.

“At about 4 am, we encountered two terrorists,” remembers Yehuda. “They were about 330 yards from our tank. We started shooting at them. During the fight, I gave an order to one of the soldiers to take out ammunition from the side of the tank. As soon as he began climbing out of the tank, the terrorists fired a missile at us. My friend who had been standing by my side was killed instantly; the entire tank crew and I were wounded.”

This traumatic experience stayed with Yehuda and still affected him when he was finally discharged. He didn’t understand the pain he was experiencing, and it greatly disrupted his family life. “My wife and children couldn't live with me and what I had become,” explained Yehuda.

Yehuda’s family felt there was no one to ask for help. They felt like no one understood what Yehuda was going through.

Then they discovered the Fellowship-supported Retorno program: “I didn't believe that there was anyone who could understand me at this stage of my life. But it was like a miracle! I began attending the Retorno workshops. Suddenly, there were people who understood me. They gave me back my sanity. They taught me that I wasn't to blame. They let me know that I can live with the pain and not fall apart because of it.

“I'm grateful to Fellowship donors who have funded this program. You've saved my life. More than that, you've saved my family.”

Thanks to The Fellowship’s generous donors, this program continues to help Yehuda and his family, as well as other discharged combat soldiers and their families, live a healthier and happier life.

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The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) funds humanitarian aid to the needy in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world, promotes prayer and advocacy on behalf of the Jewish state, and provides resources that help build bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews.

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