Guard me like the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings from the wicked who despoil me, my mortal enemies who encircle me. Psalms 17:8-9 (The Israel Bible™)
With more than 40 percent of Israel Defense Force (IDF) combat soldiers being very religious and the vast majority of the others keeping traditional Judaism, having a proper place to pray while protecting the Holy Land is of great importance. To that end Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers is raising funds for a synagogue on wheels which will travel with IDF combat soldiers as they move from place to place.
“Israel’s dedicated combat soldiers need of a mobile synagogue in order to have a proper place to worship while serving,” explained Gen. (res.) Yehiel Gozal, CEO of Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, the only Israel government sanctioned organization permitted to take care of IDF soldier welfare, to Breaking Israel News. “IDF combat soldiers are constantly on the move protecting Israel from a relentless enemy and incessant terror. Having ‘their’ synagogue, which travels with them whenever they move, builds a spiritual connection as well as a security that the God of Israel is watching over them and protecting them.”
Gozal explained that a mobile synagogue is a 40 feet long container with full amenities to keep soldiers comfortable and protected from the elements. Each container is fitted with air-conditioning and heating, proper furniture, lighting, a decorative protective closet for the Torah scroll and holy books.
Without this mobile synagogue, soldiers pray either outside in the elements or inside a tent, which can be oppressively hot during Middle Eastern summers or cold and wet during the winter months. And, the holy Torah scroll can become damaged.
“Having a mobile synagogue changes everything for IDF combat soldier service,” continued Gozal. “Soldiers must wake up very early for morning prayers and afternoon prayers can be in the middle of the highest heat of the day.”
Although the mobile synagogues must be moved on strong trucks, which is very expensive, the physical and spiritual uplift they give to IDF soldiers is worth the effort and expense. “Often, one sees on a combat soldier base 20 to 50 tents. Then, the eye catches the synagogue building and the soldiers are comforted.”
Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers is blessed to have a supporter who is matching dollar for dollar every donation made toward this mobile synagogue. The campaign is running through the end of 2018. Because the organization is Israel government sanctioned, 100 percent of every donation is used directly for IDF soldier welfare.
Though every donation is welcomed, donations of $1,000 or more will be gifted with a unique opportunity to personally meet with some of Israel’s bravest fighters.
“Especially now, when IDF combat soldiers on every border as well as within Israel, are facing a constant escalation of terrorism and possibly even war, the soldiers need and want a proper place to worship,” noted Gozal to Breaking Israel News. “This mobile synagogue will move with the battalion when it is on the Gaza border, in Judea, Samaria and all over the Holy Land.”
Gozal said that he has personally experienced the wonderful help mobile synagogues provide to combat units. “These synagogues on wheels are very much appreciated and truly needed,” he said. “Can you imagine what it feels like to worship in the Negev desert summer heat or the Golan Heights winter snow without protection or proper facilities? This makes a huge difference to IDF combat soldiers army service.”
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