The story below is featured in the One Family UK Haggadah which is available here
The One Family Haggadah features hand drawn images relating to the Pesach story by pupils from the Sobell Sinai school in north London. There are articles throughout the haggadah featuring the work carried out supporting victims of terror and moving personal victims stories which also relate to the Pesach story.
Aaron, (26), was critically wounded during Operation Cast Lead in 2009 after he and his unit entered a booby-trapped house on the outskirts of Gaza. Aaron was the platoon commander of the 890th paratrooper regiment. Only two days before the start of the operation he had married his beloved wife Tzvia.
The morning after the wedding, Aaron’s commander called him and asked him if he could lead his troops into Gaza – Aaron and Tzvia did not hesitate! Aaron left his newlywed wife and joined his soldiers who he would soon lead into battle.
On the third day of Operation Cast Lead, Aaron and his troops searched a house in Gaza, which turned out to be booby-trapped. While in the house, the force of the explosion collapsed the building on top of Aaron and two soldiers, who were lightly injured. Aaron, however, suffered critical multiple injuries to his head, face, and chest, while his body took hundreds of pieces of shrapnel.
Aaron was air evacuated in critical condition to Beilinson Hospital and was operated on by Dr. Steven Jackson, a senior Neurosurgeon, who operated on Aaron’s penetrating brain injury. Aaron remained in a critical condition and few believed he would survive. Dr. Jackson and his team saved Aaron’s life, and during his three weeks in hospital, Aaron made a miraculous recovery, regaining consciousness. When his condition stabilized he was transferred to Tel Hashomer Rehabilitation Hospital, where he began a long rehabilitation and recovery process that continues till today.
As a result of his injuries, Aaron is now confronted with problems such as finding the correct words when he speaks, remembering names, and has difficulties focusing cognitively. However, there was a time when doctors did not think that he would ever speak or walk — let alone live.
Aaron frequently says, “To get to where I am despite all the hardships I went through, for me it’s a miracle and divine providence. It is true that there are other difficulties that stand in front of me but I believe that I can move them and move forward. It is important to look at the good things in life and grow out of the difficulty. It is impossible to explain the course of events and difficulties that will always face some of us in life, but it is important to know to continue even when it is hard and it seems impossible.”
Over the last four years, Dr. Jackson has operated on Aaron several times, and together they have been trying to improve Aaron’s his motor skills and quality of life. Dr. Jackson and his wife, Yitzchaka a lawyer and paediatric Intensive care nurse, have been helping Aaron with his rehabilitation.
Yitzchaka, an avid runner, approached Aaron six months ago. She had known him from immediately after his injury and saw a tremendous change in him. Yitzchaka explained to Aaron, that, even though her husband saved his life, he need not give up on future dreams, but he can go further to conquer his challenges. Yitzchaka asked Aaron’s permission to guide him through a new challenge that she was planning to offer him. She approached him with the idea of running together with her on November 3rd, in the N.Y. Marathon, so that Aaron can help and give back and show gratitude to the One Family Fund who has been supporting him since his injury four years ago. OneFamily has helped not only Aaron Karov but also 3500 families across Israel who have been bereaved and injured by acts of terrorism.
Despite the physical hardships, Aaron agreed to join the challenge, and after being examined by doctors he was given the green light to run the New York City Marathon. Yitzchaka Jackson has been training Aaron for the last four months, running up to four times a week with him preparing him for the grueling and challenging New York Marathon ahead. Aaron is on a rigorous schedule with the help of a dietician, regular health checks in Wingate Institute,all this in order to prepare him for this upcoming challenge.
Let’s help them reach and cross the finish line! This is important so that they can continue to help others by serving as an example of successful rehabilitation despite the effects and damages of terror.