In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts. Leviticus 23:24 (The Israel Bible™)
As the Nation of Israel prepares for the Jewish New Year-Rosh HaShanah (September 10) and the High Holiday season, Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers is tasked with ensuring that Israel’s IDF soldiers have a semblance of celebration while protecting the Holy Land and its citizens.
Jewish holidays are a time when Israel’s soldiers are on especially high alert for terrorist attacks in Israel. This leads soldiers to not only remain steadfast in their duties but also makes them long for the days when they celebrated the holidays in the warmth and comfort of their families and friends.
Providing IDF soldiers with meaningful holiday prayer services and special holiday meals and treats maintains morale and allows these dedicated warriors know that they are remembered and loved.
That is just what Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers strives to achieve. As the only Israel government sanctioned organization permitted to provide for IDF soldier welfare, this NGO takes its responsibilities very seriously.
“We have been planning for months how best to provide IDF soldiers with a festive holiday season, especially the thousands of lone soldiers who have left their countries of birth to serve in Israel’s army,” told Brigadier General Yehiel Gozal, CEO of Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, to Breaking Israel News. “We are making sure that every IDF soldier house has special holiday food and a festive atmosphere. For Sukkot, we are building booths and providing the required Biblical lulav and etrog and, as winter is around-the-corner, we are gifting every lone soldier with a quality warm blanket, our hug and token of appreciation for them.”
As Yahad is the only organization where 100 percent of every donation goes directly to IDF soldier welfare, each year they provide tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers, especially those from impoverished homes, those who fall into the “grey area” of coming from needy families but are not recognized as poor by the Israeli government and lone soldiers with holiday shopping vouchers, recreational activities, educational programs, gift baskets and more.
Each year, it is routine procedure to place closures on the West Bank and Gaza Strip crossings. Especially this year, when terrorists alongside Israel’s southern border have bombarded the area with incendiary kites and balloons – causing agricultural devastation – and rockets, IDF soldiers will remain on very high alert. However, the closures not only help prevent terrorist attacks, they also allow security officials who operate the crossings to get in a bit of Rosh Hashanah celebration.
Closures will remain in place until a situational assessment is made. Exceptions will be made for humanitarian aid and other outstanding cases.
Some traditions which are universally practiced by Jews around the world are the hearing of the shofar blowing (a ram’s horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet) and eating honey with apples and challah holiday bread. Yahad is doing its utmost to help every IDF soldier to fulfill these decrease.
“The name ‘Rosh Hashanah’ does not appear in the Bible,” noted Gozal. “Instead, the Bible refers to the holiday as ‘Yom HaZikaron,’ the Day of Remembrance and ‘Yom Teruah,’ the Day of the Sounding of the Shofar. Shouldn’t we remember at this special time our dedicated IDF soldiers and ensure that they are able to fulfill God’s commandments for the holiday?”
To donate to IDF soldier High Holiday celebrations, please click here.
Written in cooperation with Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers.