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October 24, 2016 / 22 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘lone soldier’

Israeli President Welcomes 50,000th Oleh Brought Home by Nefesh B’nefesh

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

A group of 233 Olim (newcomers) landed Wednesday morning in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport on an El Al Boeing 777 chartered by Nefesh B’Nefesh to begin new lives in Israel. The flight celebrated the Aliyah of the 50,000th newcomer through the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization, which was founded in 2002. Among the newcomers were 75 “lone soldiers” who will become Israeli citizens and volunteer to serve in the IDF. The flight was a collaborative project of Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah & Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, JNF-USA and Tzofim-Garin Tzabar.

More than half of the 75 soon-to-be soldiers are young women. Rebecca Glanzer, 22, from Brooklyn, NY, graduated recently from Columbia University with a degree in economics and is hoping to serve in the IDF’s Artillery Brigade. “I have been looking forward to making Aliyah and serving as a lone soldier in the IDF for so many years, and it is so crazy to me that this dream I had in high school is finally being realized,” said Glanzer. She then explained: “What drew me to Israel was the community and sense of belonging that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Being the 50,000th person to make Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh only affirms for me that I am part of something bigger, joining the thousands of people who took the opportunity to live a more meaningful and more Jewish life in Israel. I can’t believe it’s finally happening.”

The flight included a diverse mix of people from 22 US states and one Canadian province, including 24 families, 78 children and 10 medical professionals. The ages ranged from three and a half weeks to 85 years old.

Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 50,000 Oleh Rebecca Glanzer with (L-R) Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, President Reuven Rivlin, Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, and Tony Gelbart, co-founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh / Photo credit: Shahar Azran

Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 50,000 Oleh Rebecca Glanzer with (L-R) Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, President Reuven Rivlin, Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, and Tony Gelbart, co-founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh / Photo credit: Shahar Azran

“This is such an honor for me to join you at this special moment, The moment you have all come home,” President Reuven Rivlin said at the ceremony welcoming the group. He continued, “You are no longer Jews in exile, you are now all Israelis. Each of you, young and old, men and women, have fulfilled the dream of 2000 years, you have made Aliyah.”

“I know the decision to make Aliyah is not easy, leaving behind family and friends, looking for work, starting in new schools, learning a new language. There are challenges ahead but we are all here to support you and help you build your new home,” the President said.

Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver told the newcomers that “the State of Israel salutes the young people who chose to leave their comfortable lives in North America in order to make the greatest contribution to the country’s national security and its people. I congratulate them and the other Olim who make Aliyah as a result of the cooperation between the Ministry and our partner in Aliyah, Nefesh B’Nefesh. I’m confident, and I promise, that the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption will accompany these Olim and take care of them throughout their entire integration process.”

Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, pointed out that “every single family and individual we bring to Israel who decides to make Aliyah is such a special thing for us as an organization, but when you see so many brave young men and women from North America sacrifice so much and voluntarily leave their families because they feel a yearning desire to serve in the IDF and defend Israel, that’s powerful.”

He reminisced how “back in 2002 when Tony Gelbart and I founded this organization, we couldn’t have imagined bringing 50,000 Jews from North America to Israel to fulfill their dreams and the dreams of the Jewish people. And we’re not stopping anytime soon.”

Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said, “We are proud of our partnership with Nefesh B’Nefesh, and every new planeload of North American Olim strengthens and enriches our country. The immigrants arriving from the United States and Canada are coming not out of distress but rather out of excitement to take part in the greatest national project of the Jewish people, said. We must ensure that the State of Israel remains a place in which every Jew feels at home, a place that ignites Jews’ imagination and strengthens their identity and security. I would particularly like to welcome the dozens of young people who are choosing to build their lives in Israel: your success is our success, and your future is our future. Welcome home!”

Gary Vitkin, CEO of Tzofim Tzabar Olami, said, “The touching stories of the participants are inspiring and encourage us to continue to give them the warm hug that they deserve, these young adults from all over the world come to Israel to serve in the IDF as Lone Soldiers. One of the most meaningful accomplishments of Tzofim – Garin Tzabar that is in collaboration with The Jewish Agency, Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Kibbutz Movement and Nefesh B’Nefesh is the unique dynamic that is formed by the teens is made possible by these organizations and I am happy to see that this success is translated to building a future in Israel.”


Knesset Committee Approves $80 Million to Support New Immigrants

Monday, August 15th, 2016

The Knesset Finance Committee, headed by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), on Monday approved the transfer of an additional $80 million to the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, mainly for the purpose of finding housing solutions for elderly immigrants.

Some of the funds are designated for encouraging entrepreneurship among new immigrants from France, Belgium, and Ukraine.

Of the amount allotted, about $68 million are designated for housing solutions for elderly immigrants; $4 million for encouraging entrepreneurship among new immigrants, including employment fairs and seminars for new immigrants, coupons for Hebrew lessons, absorption-related activities in local authorities, encouraging Aliyah abroad by strengthening the professional capabilities of potential olim, and adding more operators to the information call center for those interested in making Aliyah; $2 million for the implementation of the government’s decision to allow members of the Bnei Menashe community entry into Israel, and $1.3 million are designated for increasing the assistance provided to immigrant soldiers who are recognized by the IDF as lone soldiers or as soldiers who are eligible for family stipends.


Fallen ‘Lone Soldiers’ Leave a Family and Country in Mourning

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Ten years after the death of her son Michael, an American-born IDF soldier who fell in battle, Harriet Levin is still learning to cope.

“Every day is different,” Levin said in an interview with Tazpit Press Service (TPS) on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day, which begins Tuesday night. “I’ve learned to deal, but then there are really bad days – I call them my ‘Michael days.’”

First Sgt. Michael Levin died during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Serving in Battalion 890 of the Paratroopers unit, Michael was killed by anti-tank fire while clearing a building in Aita Al Shaab, a city in southern Lebanon. He was 21 years old.

Levin represents a group of soldiers known as “lone soldiers” – citizens of other countries who leave behind their families and friends and come to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

Thousands of lone soldiers serve in the IDF. During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, three lone soldiers, two Americans and one French, were killed in action in the Gaza Strip.

Since 2009, four lone soldier centers across Israel have been established in Michael Levin’s memory.

“Mostly I just try to focus on the good that we’re doing in his memory and that really keeps me going,” Harriet Levin said. The centers are “run by lone soldiers so they really understand their needs,” she added. “We just keep growing and getting better and better.”

Joshua Flaster, director of the Lone Soldier Center and a former lone soldier serving in an infantry unit, helped establish the center along with his comrades after completing his service.

“I came to Israel 11 years ago on my own, as a lone soldier, and sadly have lost good friends in the army,” Flaster told TPS. “Since my release from active-duty service I’ve had to say goodbye far too early to lone soldiers I’d helped advise and integrate into Israel.”

Memorial Day, known in Hebrew as Yom Hazikaron, carries special weight for soldiers, lone or otherwise.

“Yom Hazikaron is a day of sad reflection and, of course, a little scary for any soldier,” Flaster said. “Soldiers are sent to stand by the graves of members of their unit who fell before them. A country comes to a stand-still and as a nation we take on the pain, loss, and price paid to be a free people in our own land.”

Harriet attended the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin ceremony at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill on Tuesday, which featured the untold stories of fallen lone soldiers.

“It’s not only the loss of my son but the loss of all of Israel’s children, both in wars and terrorism, who have given their lives so we have a homeland,” Levin said. “He’s not the only one. He came here from the States and he really didn’t have to, but that’s what really makes Israel so fabulous.”

The differences between Memorial Day in the U.S. and Israel are “like night and day,” Levin said.

“The United States just doesn’t get what a Memorial Day is,” she said. “In the States it’s about barbecues and sales and opening your shorehouse and it has nothing to do with people who have given their lives for their country – here that’s all it’s about.”

Michael is remembered for his smile, courage, and unhalting Zionism.

“His smile would melt you and his eyes would twinkle,” Levin told TPS. “But his seriousness came through when it came to Israel. He had a passion for Israel and a love for this country. He was doing exactly what he wanted to do with his life.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Mazel Tov!

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Israeli lone soldier Eliezer First surprised his girlfriend Rachel Shechter who came to visit him at the army base in Gush Etzion with an engagement proposal, on May 1, 2016.

From the smiles, we assume that she said yes.

Surprise Engagement

Surprise Engagement

Photo of the Day

Lone Soldier Menachem Mendel Gordon is Overwhelmed After his Mother is Flown to Israel for his Paratrooper Graduation Ceremony [video]

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Grab your tissues.

Mindi Levine Gordon hasn’t seen her son Menachem Mendel Gordon in 18 months, so Standing Together 24/7 IDF flew her in to be there as her Lone Soldier graduates and earns his red Paratroopers beret following a 60 kilometer march at 4 AM this morning!

(The videos are on Facebook, so they may take a moment to load.)

Part I – The March into Jerusalem

Get the tissues ready!We (Standing Together 24/7 IDF) heard there was a mother who hasn't seen her son (Lone Soldier) in over a year, so we decided to surprise them and flew mommy in to unite them! Got up at 4 am to accompany her son's unit as they finish their last kilometer of their final March. Best feeling in the world!Watch the second part and the actual meeting between mom and son here https://www.facebook.com/AriFuld/videos/vb.796250540/10156609794400541/?type=2&theaterPosted by Ari Fuld on Wednesday, February 24, 2016



Part II – Lone IDF Soldier Menachem Mendel Gordon Meets His Mother For the First Time in 18 Months Following His 60 Kilometer Masa Kumtah

I cannot even begin to describe the high that I'm on right now!Mindi Levine Gordon hasn't seen her son in 18 months, so Standing Together 24/7 IDF flew her in to be there as her Lone Soldier graduates and earns his red beret! I caught their initial meeting and WOW!#AmYisraelChaiPosted by Ari Fuld on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Videos by Ari Fuld.

Video of the Day

Mazel Tov

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

Mazel Tov to two lone IDF soldiers, Moshe Rosen and Helen Marcus, on their engagement.

Helen and Moshe are both new Olim from the U.S. They met in Jerusalem.

A lone soldier is someone who serves in the IDF without benefit of having parents living in Israel. It can be exceptionally difficult experience.

The photo was taken at the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin in Jerusalem, an organization that provides lone soldiers with a home away from home.

Helen Marcus also happens to be the daughter of JewishPress.com senior correspondent Lori Lowenthal Marcus.

Mazel Tov!

Photo of the Day

New York Female Lone Soldier Overcome Cancer to Be IDF Officer

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Rotem Chiprut, a ”lone soldier” from New York, has shown the IDF how much she is a real fighter by overcoming cancer and a discharge from the IDF to return as an officer

Under the heat of the Negev sun, Rotem was one of officer cadets standing at attention with their weapons in hand after having completed their officers’ training course after four months of intense training in leadership, management, and professionalism.

Her story is unique, one of a young how has proven Herzl’s phrase, “If you will it, it is no dream.”

Originally born in New York, Rotem moved to Israel at the age of just a few months. After spending 12 years growing up in Israel, her family moved back to the United States where she finished high school in New Jersey.

Upon completing high school, Rotem planned to follow the same path as her friends: attend a college and study for a bachelor’s degree. She began the process of registering for university when her family took a trip to Israel. “I saw the soldiers on the street and realized that people my age were all a part of something bigger,” she remembers. “I also wanted to protect my country and be a real part of my country.”

After a long discussion with her parents, Rotem immigrated to Israel with the goal of joining the IDF. “I was so excited to enlist,” Rotem recalls. “When I first put on my uniform I was so proud of myself. I said to myself ‘I came here to do something, and I’m here. I did it.’”

Rotem serves in the IDF as a lone soldier – one whose parents live outside of the country. “I am technically far from my family and home, but I am always at home here in Israel,” Rotem proudly states.

In the middle of her service, Rotem decided she wanted to become an officer. During her processing for officers’ training school, Rotem went for a physical and blood test when she got news that changed her life forever.

“They sat me down in the doctor’s office and told me that they found out I had cancer in my thyroid gland,” she recounts stoically, “and that I needed to leave the army to have surgery.”

“When I found out I couldn’t continue the officers’ course I cried a lot because [the Officer Training School] is the place I wanted to be and it was really important to me.” Shortly after, Rotem underwent surgery on her thyroid gland, was discharged from the army, and sent home to rest for two months.

“Every day I felt I wanted to go back to my base. I didn’t want to be at home for two months; I really wanted to be in the army.”

Recovery and Re-enlistment

“Little by little I understood that I wouldn’t be able to join the army with the same status I had before,” Rotem discloses. “They told me I could join the army as a volunteer but not with the same job.”

After writing multiple letters and appealing to various army offices, Rotem got word that she would be able to re-enlist with the same position in the army. She not only did she get to re-enlist, but she also would be allowed to attend the officers’ training course even though she had missed the deadline.

“The moment they told me I had cancer, I didn’t think about my health at all. It sounds crazy, but I cried not because I had to undergo surgery, but because I had to leave the army,” Rotem added. “I knew I would be ok and that everything would pass, but I didn’t know if I could rejoin the army, and that was the reason I came to Israel and the reason I left everything behind [in the United States].”

IDF Spokesperson's Office

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-york-female-lone-soldier-overcome-cancer-to-be-idf-officer/2014/12/04/

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