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Ma Nishtana?

Why our IDF Holiday Program is different this year

by KR

0 Comments | Wednesday, April 03, 2024 under Holidays for IDF Soldiers

American Friends of Yad Eliezer/B’ezri has always been so appreciative of Israel's soldiers- their gruelling work, their dedication, their mesirut nefesh (self-sacrifice). That's why in addition to our regular holiday campaigns for needy families, we created our Holiday Relief Program for IDF Soldiers years ago. We run it biannually: in the lead up to the High Holidays and Pesach, two of the most expensive times of the year, to show our appreciation and ensure struggling soldiers can purchase food for the holidays. 

But needless to say, this year has been different. 

Since October 7, more soldiers than ever before have been called up to serve. And day after day, we’re seeing the courage of those soldiers reach completely new dimensions as they heroically put their lives on the line for us.

But along with that, we’re also seeing new dimensions of need in soldier homes - due to the economy, war-related challenges and often a combination of both. So while soldiers are fighting to protect Am Yisrael, many are also simultaneously fighting just to stay afloat.

For example, continually escalating costs of food and living expenses have worsened the situation in soldiers’ homes where families were already hovering at or below the poverty line. Other soldiers are being faced with challenges such as significant injuries, which have increased their bills and necessities. And with thousands of husbands away in reserves, mothers are working alone and double-time to keep their families functional, with additional expenses and often on reduced incomes.

Yehuda S. is serving in the Nachal unit. His father Shimon has been the sole provider for his family of 7 ever since Mrs. S. passed away six years ago. A maintenance worker, Shimon hasn’t earned much money over the years and the family has always struggled. He does the best he can, though, to provide the family (including one child with special needs) with their necessities. Before October 7, Yehuda would work at part time jobs when home on break, to help his father with expenses. The family lives in the south and when the war broke out, Shimon lost his job. Their situation quickly went from bad to worse and with Yehuda in the army for weeks on end, there is no one else who can help earn any income.

Oriel D. is an officer in a special forces unit of the IDF. During one of the numerous battles he fought in Gaza, he and his men came upon a building and readied to enter. Miraculously though, Oriel realized the building was booby-trapped and managed to get his soldiers away just in time, saving their lives. Oriel himself was seriously injured though, and is hospitalized, requiring rehabilitation. Oriel just got married one week before the waar began. Now incapacitated, he and his wife Adel, a student, can’t pay their bills, and are overdue on the rent for their apartment. 

These stories are two examples of soldiers in need, but these types of stories, each with different details, are multiplied over and over again on the ground.

That’s why our IDF holiday program this Pesach is different, too.

Larger than ever before. we’re allocating $900,000 in supermarket gift cards to 4,500 needy soldiers throughout the country including struggling married soldiers, those from poor backgrounds, lone soldiers and an additional 1,000 reservists. Thanks to our relationships with specific army commanders across Israel who know their recruits’ backstories well, we can be certain the aid will assist those facing great need. 

Donor tzedaka contributions to our program will ensure their Pesach food shopping is taken care of, alleviating one of multiple worries they’re facing. With all the soldiers are doing for us, we will guarantee they have stability and a feeling of celebration in their homes on Yom Tov– neither of which are a given this year, when everything is so different.



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