The Friends of the IDF Pennsylvania/Southern N.J. Chapter and Congregation Beth Or’s Israel Committee are presenting a tribute to lone soldiers and parents from the region in September.
Michael Levin, the Holland, Pa., resident who was killed in action fighting for the Israel Defense Forces during the second Lebanon War in 2006, might be the most well-known lone soldier from the area, but there are many others from the region whose stories also bear telling.
To that end, the Friends of the IDF Pennsylvania/Southern N.J. Chapter and Congregation Beth Or’s Israel Committee are presenting a Tribute to IDF Lone Soldiers and Parents From the Greater Philadelphia Region on Sept. 2, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m, at Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen.
What the lone soldiers are doing, says Margie Chachkin, administrative coordinator of the FIDF local chapter, is of utmost importance to the Jewish state. “Their bravery, dedication, devotion is unprecedented; they are giving their time, energy and giving of themselves — nothing is more beautiful.”
Scheduled speakers include Consul General Yaron Sideman; Josh Shapiro, chairman, Montgomery County Commission; Sarah Schorr, mother of lone soldier Eric; and Shoval Dorani, a former lone soldier from Philadelphia.
Pre-registration for the tribute is required. (fidf.org/chapters/pennsylvania or call 215-383-2890)
The FIDF Lone Soldier Program has a target of raising $6,000 for each of the 35 lone soldiers they support during their enlistment.
On a related mission, friends of Levin are working to raise funds for Beit Michael (beitmichael.mydagsite.com), in Kibbutz Merav of Northern Israel, a home-away-from-home serving lone soldiers established in Levin’s honor.
Lonni Romirowsky Gajer, an Elkins Park native who is helping to spearhead the fundraising project, said: “There are thousands of lone soldiers who have given up the comforts of home to heroically defend the State of Israel. Sadly, many spend their time off from the army in an empty apartment and have no sense of community or family to support them while serving."
Beit Michael “not only provides a house on Kibbutz Merav in which lone soldiers live together and can bond based on similar experiences, but they are also given ‘adopted families’ on Kibbutz Merav, who welcome them into their homes and treat them as their own.”