The family of Howie Rothman, the Canadian-Israeli man who was left clinging to life in hospital after a horrific terror attack on a Jerusalem shul last fall, was presented with a cheque for more than $100,000 raised mostly by the Toronto Jewish community to aid with medical bills and other expenses.
The Howie Rothman and Family Victim of Terror Assistance Fund, established in November by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, has raised about $150,000 from 1,000 donors, most of whom are members of the Toronto Jewish community, said Steven Shulman, federation’s campaign director.
He said a cheque for $108,000 was presented Jan. 5 to the family by Jewish Agency for Israel chair Natan Sharansky.
“Money is still coming in… at a very good pace… This has obviously hit a nerve in this community,” Shulman said, adding that a second transfer of funds will come later.
“The kind of response we got on this fund is really reflective of two things: it’s reflective of the kind of community we have and the ties we have with Israel and secondly, it is reflective of the trust people have in UJA Federation to ensure that funds collected will get to where they are needed, which is with the family.”
Rothman, a 54-year-old father of 10 who has been in a medically induced coma after being hit in the head, neck and arm with a meat cleaver during a Nov. 18 terror attack on the Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighbourhood, lost his right eye and suffered brain damage, and is still in intensive care at Hadassah Medical Center.
According to an email update sent out in late December by his family, Rothman is showing slight improvement.
“He is able to breathe on his own through a tracheotomy tube, he is making some limb movements, and he is opening his left eye for longer periods of time,” the email said, adding that he was transferred from the main ICU ward into the neurosurgery ICU ward because he is no longer in immediate danger of infection.
The statement also said the family and doctors are discussing options for Howie’s long-term care in a rehabilitation hospital.
In addition to the funds raised by Toronto’s federation, a second fund that is being handled by Beth Oloth, a charity that supports Jewish education, has raised more than $2.2 million for the victims of the attack and their families.
Five people were killed and seven injured in the attack, which was perpetrated by two cousins from east Jerusalem who were killed by police during the incident.
For more information or to donate, visit helprothman.com.