This year, they are working together with the ZOA, the World Mizrachi Movement, and Young Israel, and distribution of their packages is being done in conjunction with the Michael Levin Lone Soldier Center.
Gili’s also tries to educate others to do chesed. For the last two years, it has involved students from schools, midrashot, and yeshivot who help in the packing of packages that are delivered to soldiers.
Of course, whenever a good thing hits the market, there will be copycats. But the Ehrlichs accept this gladly. “At the time that we began baking and selling what has become our ‘signature’ cookie, our ‘Chocolate Krinkel,’ ” said David, “I had never seen one on any shelf in any bakery or store in Israel. Within a year, I saw it on the counter of a well-known coffee chain. But I realized that imitation was the greatest form of flattery!”
Gail continues to oversee the cookie production and David is in charge of marketing to tourist and Internet markets. He’s often the one who delivers the packages. He kvells as he describes what it is like to see the looks on the faces of homesick kids or soldiers about to go into battle. “Making a parnassa is great, but the feeling I get when I see a yeshiva or seminary student get a sweet hug from home is an amazing feeling! The feeling I had when I personally delivered 18,000 cookies to the Gaza front was the most emotional highlight of our soldier campaign…ever!
Ehrlich says that one of the most heart-wrenching experiences he had was sending 300 boxes of goodies to families who had been uprooted from their homes in Gush Katif in August, 2005. I know first hand how he felt. Our daughter’s family, expelled from Atzmona were the recipients of one of those boxes. I will never forget how moved she was. There on the one little table, in their tiny room that held their family of (then) five, was a big box of Gili’s Goodies. She didn’t even know who they were from.
“I’ll tell you,” I said to her. “They are from David and Gail Ehrlich. And it all began during the Intifada of 2001. Here’s the story…”
Gili’s Goodies can be ordered for Purim via www.gilisgoodies.com, 866-721-7292 and 052- 2631808 (in Israel); and Gilisgoodies on Facebook/Skype.