Some of the soldiers were also armed with “spiritual ammunition” provided to them earlier this week by the Orthodox Union (OU), which delivered 102 packages consisting of tefillin, tzitzit and a siddur with Tehillim prepared especially for soldiers on the battlefield.
The materials were brought to Gaza by Rabbi Avi Berman, director of OU Israel, and represent the first disbursement of the special fund created by the OU to provide the items to soldiers who wanted to add a spiritual component to their armament.
Funding for these packages was provided by Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills, CA. In the next few weeks, hundreds more of these packages will be provided by the congregation to soldiers returning from Gaza.
“The IDF arms the soldiers with their military weaponry; the OU’s mission is to arm them with spiritual ammunition as they put their lives at risk,” said OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb.
The fund-raising campaign is taking place in OU synagogues across North America. The tefillin delivered to the 102 soldiers on Sunday cost $33,000. Another 70 soldiers are on the waiting list to receive their packages.
“Commanders who have been with the IDF for a long time were telling me that they didn’t remember such a spiritual high in the army since the day after the Six-Day War,” Rabbi Berman told The Jewish Press.
“These tefillin represent Jews in America whose heart is with the soldiers who are risking their lives in Gaza. The soldiers are putting the tefillin on at a critical time in their lives, and the people who contributed are hoping that they will continue to do so forever and ever.”
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