web analytics
March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Columns »

A Package From Home

         I am not sure if many readers understand the severity of a young soldier’s life during periods of conflict. The noise, the isolation, the fear and uncertainty of where a bullet or rocket will strike next, the waiting and the pressure are constant companions of our boys at the front. Soldiers spend days in the field, often in their tanks, with no opportunity for rest, relaxation, a word from home or a hot shower. The situation today, while greatly intensified, is similar to what our boys have been facing on Israel’s borders for the last several years.

 

         Barbara Bloom Silverman, a former Chicagoan who has lived in Jerusalem for 24 years, was driving past an Israeli roadblock near the Arab town of Ramallah in 1985. She realized that while she was headed for a wonderful Shabbat with her family, the youngster in his helmet and vest, sweating from the heat, was looking forward to a bleak weekend. She told her husband that she wanted to bring these soldiers a hot Shabbat meal on Friday, and that’s what they did. The six soldiers at the roadblock were excited to get the home-cooked meal and shyly asked if there was any for their friends at a nearby roadblock. Thus started a weekly tradition of bringing 48 meals every Friday, until the roadblocks were declared too dangerous for her to visit.

 

         When the second intifada began in October 2000, many of Barbara’s friends from Chicago asked what they could do to help. One friend sent her a $180 check, saying, “I know you always plan something for the soldiers.”

 

         Barbara decided to establish a project called “A Package from Home”.

 

         The purpose at first was to provide care packages for combat soldiers and lone soldiers who had left their families in the Diaspora and had no family support in Israel. One soldier was so impressed with the package that he called his mother in Moscow and told her that he had received a great package from a total stranger. His mother said, “Now I understand why they say that all Israel is one people.” The soldier wrote Barbara and told her that the warm socks and headgear helped him survive during his foot patrol on the Syrian border.

 

         One day last week a soldier entered the packing room with perspiration rolling down his face and his hair matted to his scalp. He saw the clean T-shirts, underwear, anti-fungal socks, packages of wet wipes, assorted candies, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, medicated hand cream, lip balm, sunscreen and other creature comforts. He said, “I spent the last four days inside my tank with no relief.

 

         “The temperature in the tanks can reach more than 100 degrees in the daytime and is very low at night,” he said. “When we receive these packages, we tear off our filthy clothing and put on this fresh clothing on our dirty bodies. Barbara, if you could only tell the people who provide the funds for these packages what it means to receive the wonderful items that give us such a sense of relief and make us feel human again! We then enjoy the sweets and snacks while we read the wonderful letters of support from all around the world.” He then took Barbara’s hand and kissed it and said as all the soldiers do “Elef Brachot” – a thousand blessings.

 

         Checks and cash help “A Package from Hope” cover expenses for clean underwear and clothing, but there is an even more exciting way to help. Groups traveling from the States often carry duffel bags filled with small items. They also bring snacks, and Barbara adds fresh underwear, wool caps for winter, T-shirts in summer and letters to the soldier written in four different languages.

 

         Writing letters can be an ideal class project. These groups often meet the soldiers face-to-face and help pile the packages into the truck. Groups include those from Birthright, USY, Yeshiva University, synagogue groups, Christian pilgrimages and bar and bat mitzvah parties. A community or a group may adopt an entire military unit. More than 200 units have been adopted, and one young bar mitzvah boy directed that his gifts pay for the construction of a gym at one of the army bases.

 

         Ten thousand packages have been sent since Corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. His whole unit received packages, and one was delivered to his parents with over 2,000 letters of support. Jews and non-Jews from the UK, Australia, Wales, Scotland, Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa, France and many other countries sent letters of support.

 

         A chesed organization that has a refrigerated truck delivers ice cream and cold drinks twice a week to soldiers in the North. In an effort to do more, the driver asked the soldiers standing around his truck what they need the most. They shouted back, “Underwear”! He explained that he has no contact or knowledge of where to buy underwear. They responded in a single voice, “Ask Barbara”.

 

         Barbara Bloom Silverman may be contacted at emess@netvision.net.il.  “A Package from Home” needs your immediate support for the purchase of large quantities of goods for immediate packing. Send your American tax-deductible checks payable to Ziv Tzedakah Fund and write in the memo, “A Package From Home”. Mail to Naomi Eisenberger, Managing Director, Ziv Tzedakah Fund, 384 Wyoming Ave., Millburn, NJ 07041. 973-763-9396 (phone), 973-275-0346 (fax).

 

         Online donations can be made at www.ziv.org by clicking the “Donate Now” button.

 

         Learn more about “A Package from Home” at www.apackagefromhome.org. Tax refundable shekel donations may be mailed to the AACI at PO Box 30017, Jerusalem 93341, Israel (with “A Package From Home” in the memo).

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Package From Home”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
One-third of polled Republicans see President Obama as the biggest imminent threat to the USA.
One-Third of GOP Voters See Obama Worse for US than Assad and Putin
Latest Indepth Stories
Photo from President Barack Obama's past visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through} TRUST Trust is the bedrock of a functional relationship. It enables one party to rely on the other. A trust that includes both intention and capability permits a sharing of responsibility and workload. The relationship between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu started off badly and further […]

jabotinsky with sword

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama Racine

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

Auschwitz Entrance

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

More Articles from Dov Gilor
Gilor-Dov

There are also many fringe parties such as Ale Yarok (Green Leaf – supports legalizing marijuana), Bezchutan – Haredi women, We Are All Friends Party, Green’s Party, Pirate Party, Ohr Party, Protecting Our Children Party, Finance Party, Hatikva LeShinui, Democratura, Perach, etc., etc., etc.

Gilor-Dov

We created an organization of former Bnei Akiva of North America members who have fulfilled the dream of living in Eretz Yisrael.

An example of our own self-imposed weakness is the Israeli attitude towards the Holy Temple Mount.

Spies who caused American deaths and worked for enemy states received lighter sentences than Pollard.

The cleansing of Europe of its non-Muslim population will be accomplished in another two or three generations.

The Drama Mamas are not an ordinary theater troupe. “When we audition actresses,” says Elisheva, who also serves as the show’s director, “we like to explain to them that the main qualification is that you can honestly say, I have never been on a stage before, but I have always wanted to be an actress!”

It really is time for painful sacrifices for peace. No one wants his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to suffer the pangs of war and strife. It is time to end the strife and make peace in the Middle East.

Israel is a country that understands security concerns. Many civil rights have been sacrificed in the name of security and Israelis are used to being checked every time they enter a shopping center, a large store or any public building. Americans recently learned that they, too, are subject to many checks on their most private activities.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/a-package-from-home/2006/08/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: