They serve in all military roles and when they are away from their base, they often struggle with the basic needs that having a family there would normally provide. Nearly half of the lone soldiers are disadvantaged, orphans or from Ultra-Orthodox families that disown them when they make the decision to enlist in the military. The rest are committed and dedicated young people from all over the world who are voluntarily serving in the IDF.
Here are some responses from lone soldiers when asked about their experiences.
What are some of the challenges of being a lone soldier?
Hadar (a vet from Phoenix)
Jake ( a vet from Phoenix)
One of the hardest thing for Lone Soldiers-and this happens a lot-is that they end up having issues with their families back home. Communication is hard, and the young man or woman feels like they are disconnected from their family and have trouble bridging that gap.
It means coming home not to my mother’s delicious cooking or my father’s scolding, or hugs from my siblings, but rather to bills, ants (sometimes), lovely roommates who slowly become family, random lone soldier buddies who decided to crash on the couch, an empty fridge.
What are some of the solutions to these challenges?
Jacob from Australia
The Lone Soldier Center has saved me from loneliness, despair and feeling isolated. Everybody here supports each other. It is not home, but boy it makes life better!
Shlomo of New York City
I loved the people and the leaders of the Lone Soldier Center. When I was discharged, I went back to NYC. I wasn’t ready to be there, so I came back to Jerusalem to work and volunteer with other veterans to help run the Center. I am one of the Shabbat cooks.
Julie from California
I love being in the IDF and moving up the ranks. I’ve worked very hard. When all the Israelis go home, I go to the Center to see my close friends who are going through the same experience as me. There are fun activities all the time with the people who are now my “other” family.
How can you help?
Lilly from New York
After receiving an e-mail from a local lone soldier supporter, Lilly wrote back ““I feel loved and appreciated.”
Sara from Phoenix
Know what we’re doing. Some people still don’t understand why I’m doing it. Education is probably the best way of showing support, knowing what is happening around us. Also, I love all the random care goods I get, because it shows that someone really does care about what I’m doing and the outcome. We love these knitted hats. Just keep sending them!
Lone Solder Campaign
Please consider making a donation to the Lone Soldier Project. Everything we do enhances the emotional and physical comfort of the Israeli and non-Israel young people as the protect the Jewish Homeland. Help us help them.