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Over 1,600 Lone Soldiers from 70 different countries gathered in Tel Aviv last week for the 5th annual “Yom Siddurim” (personal errands day), an event hosted by Nefesh B’Nefesh and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), together with the IDF Human Resources Department, to provide these brave men and women with a one-stop shop to complete a wide range of errands.
Present at the event were Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Aliyah & Absorption Sofa Landver, and Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz, who showed their support and received a first-hand account of the assistance and services provided by the Nefesh B’Nefesh and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Lone Soldiers program.
“I was privileged to spend this morning at the moving “Yom Siddurim” event held in honor of Lone Soldier Olim serving in the IDF. From New York, Moscow, Paris, and around the world, these soldiers have love and uncompromising commitment to the Jewish state,” said Lieberman. “The thousands of Lone Soldiers are valuable each in their own way, all serving on behalf of the State of Israel. Am Israel Chai!”
“It’s very important for us to assist Lone Soldiers who have made Aliyah, both emotionally and practically,” said Minister of Aliyah Landver. “The Ministry’s activities in recent years have been aimed at supporting these soldiers financially and with designated projects to assist them before, during and after their army service.”
Lone Soldiers often find themselves without the time to complete their basic personal errands and to navigate the often-arduous process of Israeli bureaucracy. The event, in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, Ministry of Interior, The Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, JNF-USA, and with the assistance of Yahad, aims to counter that struggle by bringing together all of the essential civilian agencies whose services are needed by Lone Soldiers on the same day and under one roof, streamlining the soldiers’ efforts to take care of their logistical tasks.
“This is my second Yom Siddurim, and I had to come back this year because I find it so beneficial for things that I need to get done that I generally don’t have time to do while in the army,” said Anna Weinstock, a Lone Soldier from Houston, Texas. “It’s really great to have so many different government offices and municipal services in one place and be able to get everything done in one day. It really eases the process for us Lone Soldiers.”
At the event, Lone Soldiers attended to personal affairs such as driving tests, taxes, and municipal and governmental services. Additionally, Nefesh B’Nefesh and FIDF representatives were on site to provide guidance on acclimating into post-army life.
“The goal of our Lone Soldiers Program is to ensure that every Lone Soldier Oleh is provided with a strong support system while assisting them through every step of their army service,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Our annual personal errands day is a unique way to support and give back to the special men and women who are making Aliyah from around the world, and are now protecting the Jewish homeland.”
More than 3,000 Lone Soldiers from around the world, including over 1,000 from North America, are currently serving in the IDF. In 2017 alone, 358 Lone Soldiers made Aliyah through Nefesh B’Nefesh.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)