Lone soldiers are young adults from around the world who volunteer to serve in the IDF and have no family in Israel. About 7,000 lone soldiers currently serve in the IDF, with about 60 percent coming from Jewish communities around the world, including the United States.
The Lone Soldier Project of the East Valley JCC is part of an effort to help provide emotional support to these soldiers, whose challenges include facing the extreme physical and psychological demands of the IDF, learning Hebrew, living in a foreign culture and experiencing loneliness from being so far away from home.
Holidays are particularly lonely and holiday greetings and letters of appreciation help them enjoy holidays and re-energize them to meet the constant demands of defending Israel and its people. For this reason, the Lone Soldier Project, through the effort of volunteer program coordinator Dr. Michael Cohen, is soliciting assistance from Valley congregations and organizations to send Hanukkah greetings to these lone soldiers.
Dr. Cohen has visited many schools and organizations to speak to children and adults about lone soldiers and encourage them to write letters of support to the soldiers. The Hanukkah Greeting Campaign launched in September and Dr. Cohen will be collecting letters through Oct. 20.
Thank you to all the organizations that participated in the 2018 Hanukkah Greeting Campaign!
- Chabad of the East Valley
- Chabad Jewish Center of Gilbert
- Chabad Jewish Center of Mesa
- Congregation NefeshSoul
- Desert Jewish Academy
- East Valley JCC
- Hillel at Northern Arizona University
- NFTY, Western Region
- Phoenix Hebrew Academy
- Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation
- Temple Beth Sholom of the East Valley
- Temple Chai Religious School
- Temple Emanuel of Tempe
- Terrific Tuesdays group at the EVJCC
Anyone is welcome to participate in the Hanukkah Greeting campaign. Click here for a copy of the Hanukkah greeting form and return your letter to the EVJCC by Oct. 20. The letters will be sent to a Lone Soldier Center in Israel for distribution.
Top photo: Elliott Reiss, a member of the Lone Soldier Project speaks with children at the Temple Chai religious school in Phoenix.